LIVERPOOL-born Kate McCann felt “mentally raped” when a newspaper
published her private diary, the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards
The hearing was told Britain’s Press was “in the dock” for abuses
ranging from phone hacking to hounding celebrities and crime victims.
The mother of Hugh Grant’s child received threats after the actor spoke
out against media intrusion, while murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s
mum Sally experienced “euphoria” when she got through to her missing
daughter’s mobile phone voicemail after a private detective working for
the News of the World deleted some of the messages.
Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry heard that both well-known figures like
Harry Potter author JK Rowling and previously unknown members of the
public have fallen victim to journalistic malpractice.
David Sherborne, representing 51 alleged victims of press intrusion,
described the scale of phone hacking at the News of the World as an
“Industrial Revolution” that represented a cultural shift away from
But he argued there were wider problems with Britain’s newspaper
culture. He said: “We are here not just because of the shameful
revelations which have come out of the hacking scandal, but also because
there has been a serious breakdown of trust.”
The parents of Madeleine McCann, who was three when she vanished on
holiday in Portugal in May 2007, were also subjected to “blatant
intrusion” by the Press, Mr Sherborne said.
In September 2008, the News of the World published Mrs McCann’s highly
personal diary, which she had not even shown to her husband, leaving her
feeling “mentally raped”, the inquiry heard.
The inquiry was adjourned until Monday.