Leveson inquiry pantomime season: the story so far | Media | The Guardian
Matt Driscoll, a News of the World sports reporter awarded £800,000 by a tribunal for flagrant mistreatment by Coulson, said Sir Alex Ferguson’s medical records had been obtained by his bosses. His testimony was particularly chilling. The medical records were not published, he said, but after being made aware of what the paper had obtained, Ferguson started to “co-operate”, presumably by giving them stories.
Richard Desmond’s tabloids, too, were the subject of some withering testimony. Former reporter Richard Peppiatt elaborated his account of torrid times at the Star, saying: “Stories which sell well … had to be sourced on a daily basis, whether there was a tale to tell or not. This naturally led to fabrication.”
A trio of Express reporters tried haltingly to explain why they had trashed the lives of the McCanns, as the inquiry had heard. They told the same story as Peppiatt. While rival NoW journalists ran a black market copy of Mrs McCann’s anguished diaries, the Express reporters sent out to Portugal filed endless cruel and defamatory fabrications about the couple. One said Desmond’s editor, Peter Hill, was “obsessed” with the McCanns and demanded a daily front page story because it sold papers “regardless of how strong the story was”. Another said: “It would be quite a brave reporter to call the desk and say ‘I’m not really sure about this’.”