Former News of the World editor says he regrets publication of diary
excerpts but was assured that mother of Madeleine McCann had given her
Myler arrives at the high court today to give the first part
of his testimony to the Leveson inquiry Copyright:
Former News of the World editor Colin Myler told the Leveson inquiry
today that he thought Kate McCann had given her permission for excerpts
from her diary to be published when the tabloid bought them from a
The excerpts – which were purchased for €3,000, Myler revealed today –
included entries from the days shortly after Madeleine McCann's
disappearance in May 2007.
According to Myler, he was told by former News of the World news editor
Ian Edmondson that the family had consented to the publication of the
diary, which Myler conceded today probably emanated from the local
The former editor said today that Edmondson had been in daily contact
with the McCann family's representative Clarence Mitchell, and that
Edmondson had said Mitchell was aware of the News of the World's
intention to publish and had said "good".
Myler said he had told Edmondson on the Friday night: "I don't want Kate
coming out of church on Sunday morning and finding out that her diaries
have been published without her knowledge."
Myler told the court he regretted the publication, but had been given
assurances by Edmondson that the tabloid was on safe ground. Lord
Leveson challenged the clarity of Edmondson's assurances, calling a
transcript of a conversation between him and Myler over the issue, which
was read in court, "ambiguous".
Myler told the inquiry that he would not have published if he had known
Kate McCann had not given her consent, and "felt very bad" about the
The former editor was also grilled by inquiry counsel Robery Jay QC
about the allegation that he "berated" Gerry McCann over the phone after
the McCanns decided to give an interview to Hello magazine rather than
the News of the World.
Myler denied the claim, telling the court that he had "no cause at any
stage to berate or be irate at Gerry". He said he "valued" his
relationship with Madeleine's father, and had simply pointed out to him
that the News of the World had better circulation than Hello.
Myler echoed other former News of the World staff in claiming during his
testimony that he did not recognise the picture of the tabloid painted
by former deputy features editor Paul McMullan and that illegality was
restricted to a small number of people.
He told the inquiry that those who had used illegal methods in the
course of their work should feel "the full force of the law".
Pressed about the News of the World's decision to publish the
controversial video of Max Mosley visiting prostitutes, Myler admitted
that he believed Mosley would obtain an injunction if they informed him
in advance. He defended the story, which he entered for the scoop of the
year award, claiming that there was a public interest in Mosley's
actions due to his presidency of the international motorsport body the
He acknowledged that letters sent by chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck to
the prostitutes in the video were threatening and called the terms used
by Thurlbeck "unnecessary". Leveson told Myler he thought that the
letters were in fact "outrageous".
Myler's evidence continues tomorrow from 10am. He will be followed by
former News of the World reporter Daniel Sanderson, who wrote the
stories featuring excerpts from Kate McCann's diary, and private
investigator Derek Webb, who alleges he was instructed by the News of
the World executive to obtain a press card from the NUJ in order to help
pose as a journalist.