It’s not widely realised that the first big investigation into corrupt private investigators, police officers and the press, was Operation Nigeria (which morphed into Operation Two Bridges) in 1999, seven years before the first phone hacking inquiry. That investigation specifically looked at two senior named News of the WorldJournalists.
But as Paddy French, who has indefatigably stood up details from this era in his Press Gang site reports today, it wasn’t just the News of the World which was compromised by the ‘No 1 Corrupt Detectives Agency’. The Mirror Group were involved as well. This partly explains why – as Alastair Morgan was told by a Mirror journalist very recently – the story of his brother’s murder is ‘too political’ for the Mirror Group to cover.
Some new details from Jim Cusick at the Independent about the civil phone hacking cases involving the Trinity Mirror group.
The company has also been co-operating with the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Golding, by handing over evidence that could be connected to potential wrong-doing. Among the material given to the Met, and subsequently disclosed to victims’ lawyers, is a bundle of 22 emails, a cache of 587 calls from MGN landlines, and 51 invoices from private investigators which relate to four hacking claims.
One internal email sent by an MGN journalist to a colleague in March 2002 concerns information on the relationship between two former EastEnders actors, Lucy Benjamin and Steve McFadden. The two were in an off-screen relationship at that time.