Last week Trinity Mirror Group were forced to issue a statement denying that they had sourced a British Press Award-winning 2002 scoop from phone-hacking. They claim “Trinity Mirror’s position is clear. Our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.” That’s not what their former journalists say though.
James “Scottie” Scott, the Daily Mirror’s showbiz reporter at the time, was listening into Ulrika Jonsson’s voicemails when he was flummoxed by messages in her native Swedish. As fortune would have it, he was able to get a half-Swedish Mirror secretary to translate the mysterious voicemails. It was clear from the translations that the couple were having an affair. The male voice sounded just like the then England football manager Sven Goran Eriksson. The paper put the allegation to the sexy Swedish shaggers and they coughed to the truth of the allegation. It broke on April 19, 2002.
The paper’s editor at the time, one Piers Morgan, was receiving flak for the fact that his 3AM Girls gossip section was dire rubbish and lacked any bite compared to Morgan’s old Bizarre column in News International’s Sun. Morgan decided to let 3AM Girl Jessica Callan break the illegally obtained story under her byline in order to try and rid the column of its banal reputation.
Scottie wasn’t a happy bunny despite being promoted to become news editor of the Mirror Group’s Sunday People by the end of the year. To add insult to injury, however, Piers Morgan, knowing in March 2003 that the story would probably win the 3AM girls the “Scoop of the Year” at the British Press Awards, arranged for Scottie to go on a far-flung, all-expenses-paid junket. Morgan wanted to make sure that the still smarting Scottie couldn’t make a boozed-up fuss on the night. The story is legend because Scottie has long dined out on the truth. Perhaps he will prefer, in the current circumstances, to let the 3AM Girls continue to claim all the credit…