A former reporter at the U.K. tabloid the Daily Mirror told the Independent that phone hacking was “endemic” during his time there, and that he would testify in a public inquiry ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron. Hipwell worked at the Mirror while current CNN anchor Piers Morgan was editor. Morgan has denied any knowledge of or involvement in phone hacking while the Mirror was under his editorship.
Hipwell, who worked on the paper’s city desk, told the Independent: “You know what people around you are doing. They would call a celebrity with one phone and when it was answered they would then hang up. By that stage the other phone would be into their [the celebrity’s] voicemail and they would key in the code, 9999 or 0000. I saw that a lot.”
Hipwell also alleged that the practice was happening at other papers published by the same company, Trinity Mirror, that publishes the Daily Mirror. As for Piers Morgan’s possible involvement: “Piers was extremely hands-on as an editor. He was on the [newsroom] floor every day, walking up and down behind journalists, looking over their shoulders. I can’t say 100 per cent that he knew about it. But it was inconceivable he didn’t.” Keep in mind that Hipwell was fired from the Mirror in 2000 for buying shares in a company before tipping them in the paper, and was found guilty of market manipulation and jailed; it’s not impossible that he still has an ax to grind.
Morgan, for his part, has recently been engaged in a war of words with British Conservative MP Louise Mensch over the issue of his possible involvement in phone hacking.