street of shame

She’s got your number!
Rebekah Brooks, Issue 1493

KEMP FOLLOWER: Rebekah Brooks, who asked a private investigator to find out who her then fiancé Ross Kemp was contacting
LEGAL papers filed at the high court reveal that News UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks is being sued by a Doncaster painter and decorator whose privacy she violated while she was editing the News of the World – not, he believes, for journalistic purposes, but because of problems in her own love life.

According to a claim filed last September, the man in question discovered several years ago that he was one of the many people whose confidential personal information had been acquired by private investigator Steve Whittamore on behalf of the NOTW, as commissioned by Brooks personally. Whittamore was convicted in 2003 of breaching the Data Protection Act by obtaining and disclosing private information (Eyes passim).

The man was at first bewildered to discover he featured in the private detective’s files, but he believes he now knows why he became of interest to Brooks: in November 2001 he met her then fiancé Ross Kemp, the former EastEnders star, in a pub and the pair exchanged phone numbers. Then, the court papers contend, “the Defendant obtained the Mobile Number without the Claimant’s consent… It is to be inferred that the Defendant obtained the Mobile Number by finding the slip of paper in Mr Kemp’s wallet or by finding it in Mr Kemp’s call history, her being suspicious of who her then fiancé was contacting.”

‘Mobile conversion’
Brooks went on to personally request that Whittamore perform a “mobile conversion” on the number to reveal who it belonged to, either aware of or “reckless or indifferent as to” the illegality of his methods (Whittamore was a seasoned “blagger” of other people’s private information, as well as acquiring confidential records from contacts in the police and government offices). The job was invoiced to Screws publisher News Group Newspapers and signed off by the paper’s managing editor Stuart Kuttner, who was acquitted of conspiracy to hack phones alongside Brooks after an epic trial in 2014.

As well as demanding redress for this “misuse of the Claimant’s private information… for the purposes of the Defendant snooping on the activities of her then fiancé”, the Donny decorator is also demanding aggravated damages on the grounds that Brooks went on at both the Leveson inquiry and her trial to state on oath that she had only ever commissioned private investigators “in order to trace convicted paedophiles who had broken their probation conditions”.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Claimant is not a paedophile, the Claimant has never been a paedophile, and there has never been any grounds whatsoever for suspecting the Claimant of being a paedophile,” his lawyers point out.

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Next issue on sale: 16th April 2019

More top stories in the latest issue:

Hackwatch Special on the wise men (and they are blokes) who keep misjudging the Brexit winds each week.

Who are the ‘intransigent bigots’ the Sun slams for blocking Brexit? Why, the DUP – whose election deal with the PM the paper welcomed back in 2017!

Sarah Vine, the Mail’s arch-hater, denounces the ‘animal rage’ of Remainers on the People’s Vote march – but has nothing to say about venomous Leavers.

Independent comment editor Hannah Fearn wonders why more women won’t write for her. Perhaps she should stop asking them to work without pay.

Telegraph investigators go in search of an in-house imposter who managed to ridicule the paper’s ‘lifestyle director’ Jane Bruton on Twitter.

Guardian editor Kath Viner steps in when irascible columnist Owen Jones gets into another furious Twitter row – this time with the paper’s beauty columnist!

Private Eye Issue 1493
In This Issue
Poll Tax Mastermind ‘Takes Control of Brexit Agenda’… Idiot Brings Railway to Standstill by Turning Up for Work at Department for Transport… ‘Get on With Brexit! Insists Man Who Until Last Week Was Stopping Brexit… Rees-Mogg Savages Turncoat Rees-Mogg… Hooligans Disillusioned With Too-Polite Football Start Following Politics…

Brexit balls
Columnists who keep calling it wrong

Sore losers
Post Office blames the judge

Deepcut latest
The mystery of Geoff Gray’s death

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16th April 2019
Private Eye Issue 1492