Former News of the World news editor gives different version of events
surrounding the publishing of Kate McCann's diaries
Edmondson, the former head of news at the News of the World,
leaves the high court after giving evidence to the Leveson
Inquiry. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
The former news editor of the News of the World has contradicted
evidence given to the Leveson inquiry by his one time editor Colin Myler
over what a spokesman for the McCanns was told about the planned
publication of Kate McCann's diary by the now closed Sunday tabloid in
Ian Edmondson, giving evidence to the inquiry on Thursday, said he was
instructed by Myler to call Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns public
relations representative, and tell him only in "very woolly" terms that
the newspaper would be running a story about them without giving the
family any indication that the tabloid was going to publish her diaries
The editor's instruction, Edmondson said, was to give Mitchell the
impression "that we were running a story, but not tell him specifically
what story" and that "certainly don't tell him [Mitchell] that we were
in possession of the complete diaries". Myler, Edmondson added, was
"frightened that if Clarence knew what we had, he might take action".
Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, asked Edmondson what was the
purpose of "having an ambiguous or woolly conversation?" Edmondson
replied that the purpose would be "in order to blame Clarence Mitchell
that he hadn't acted properly upon instructions" if there was a row
Edmondson's appearance before Lord Justice Leveson was the first time he
has spoken publicly since he was arrested and bailed on suspicion of
phone hacking in April of last year. The former News of the World news
editor was not asked any questions about hacking because of the ongoing
Edmondson's evidence directly contradicts that given by Myler to the
Leveson inquiry on 14 December. Myler was asked: "Did Mr Edmondson make
it clear to you that he had made it clear to Mr Mitchell that he had the
whole diary and was going to cause extracts from it to be published in
the News of the World?"
In response, Myler said: "That's what he led me to believe, yes."
Kate McCann told the Leveson inquiry in November that she felt "mentally
raped" by the News of the World's decision to publish her diaries in
full – diaries that she had written after her daughter Madeleine had
disappeared on holiday in Portugal in 2007, and which were subsquently
seized by the Portuguese police. The diaries were translated into
Portuguese and acquired by the News of the World, which retranslated
them to publish them.
A week later, the News of the World printed an apology for publishing
the diaries, and it subsequently emerged that the Murdoch-owned title
paid £125,000 to the fund for finding Madeleine.
Edmondson told the inquiry on Thursday that Myler's instruction to ring
Mitchell came after a meeting that he, Myler and the News of the World's
former legal manager Tom Crone had ahead of publication. Edmondson said
that Crone gave "his legal view, which I'm told I'm not allowed to
repeat, but which dismayed, shall I say, Mr Myler". The News of the
World editor then asked Edmondson to call Mitchell.
Myler lost his job as News of the World editor upon the title's closure
last July in the wake of mounting phone hacking revelations.
In January it was announced that he was to become the editor of the New
York Daily News, the bitter rival of Rupert Murdoch's New York Daily