No, Piers Morgan did NOT hack a dead girl’s phone

Almost everyone loves to hate Piers Morgan. And, to put it bluntly, the former tabloid newspaper editor turned TV presenter makes himself an easy target. From an epic tantrum over vegan sausage rolls to public sulking sessions at awards ceremonies, Piers does invite ridicule by coming across as a vain, thin-skinned manchild.

Piers Morgan sulking at the National Television Awards, January 2019.
Piers Morgan doesn’t take kindly to missing out on an award.

But the one barb that is most frequently aimed at him, particularly on Twitter, is something that he didn’t do: the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone when she was already dead.

That dubious distinction goes to a shady private eye called Glenn Mulcaire, who was acting exclusively for Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World on this specific task. Mulcaire hacked Milly’s mobile phone in March 2002 when she was still being treated as missing and alive. Piers Morgan had worked for the NotW in the past but had left to join the Mirror Group in 1995.

Mulcaire had deleted voicemails from Milly’s mobile phone, making it seem that she was still accessing messages. This gave her family false hope that she was alive when she was already dead. There had already been concerns about phone hacking by tabloid newspapers before then, but the revelation about Milly Dowler’s phone was the final straw. It caused public outrage that led to the Leveson Inquiry into media phone hacking, closure of the News of the World after a 168-year run and several NotW staff facing criminal prosecutions.

Daily Mirror sacking

Morgan was certainly involved in other shady activities like the Iraq war fake photos scandal, which led to him being sacked as Daily Mirror editor in 2004. Tabloid newspapers in general were also involved in hacking famous people’s phones. However, the crime of hacking Milly Dowler’s phone was specifically carried out by the News of the World.

So by all means criticise Morgan for the fake photos scandal from 15 years ago or mock him for his notoriously prickly ego. But smearing him for something he didn’t actually do hardly gives anyone the moral high ground.

4 Replies to “No, Piers Morgan did NOT hack a dead girl’s phone”

  1. Thanks for clearing that up. It’s something I see posted a lot about him. It’s weird that there are so many things to dislike about Piers Morgan – and yet the one thing that he gets most stick for is something that had nothing to do with him.

  2. The fact that he continually denies it, as he denied every other shitty thing he did, makes me believe he was involved, even though Levenson didn’t prove it. The Mirror Group has admitted that phone hacking was rife at the time (under Morgan’s tenure) and that numerous stories were the result of this kind of invasive tactic.

    Why believe, then, that Mulcaire was the only one hacking into Milky Fowler’s phone? More likely he was the one chosen, by the rest of fleet Street, to throw to the wolves.

    I, for one, will continue to level that accusation at him whenever he speed his bile on Twitter. Partly because he cannot or will not prove he was involved, but mainly because it pisses him off so much.

    1. Great ‘logic’ from Anthony there. He has absolutely zero evidence of Morgan being involved in a crime that, as far as all the available evidence shows, was committed by people working for a newspaper that Morgan had left seven years earlier, but that doesn’t matter to Anthony as he just ‘knows’.

      It reminds me of that scene in Brass Eye where Neil ‘Doctor’ Fox claims paedophiles have more DNA in common with crabs than humans: “That’s scientific fact. There’s no real evidence for it, but it IS scientific fact!” 🤦‍♂️

  3. OK, chaps, thanks for the exchange of views but we’ll leave it at that. The facts of the matter are that the police and courts found News of the World staff and associates to be solely responsible for the hacking of Milly’s phone; Piers Morgan had left the News of the World seven years earlier; Morgan does not have the use of a time machine as far as anyone is aware. This is not up for debate. Comments closed.

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