, LONDON, Feb 9 – The former wife of Paul McCartney told a British inquiry on Thursday that voicemail messages from the Beatles singer were hacked, slamming suggestions she had leaked them to journalists herself.
Heather Mills told the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics that she had never given a journalist permission to listen to her messages.
Piers Morgan, a former editor of Britain’s News of the World and Daily Mirror tabloids, had told the London inquiry in December that he had listened to a voicemail left to Mills by McCartney.
Morgan, now a CNN host, had refused to say when or where he had heard it because he wanted to protect a “source”.
Mills, 44, on Thursday angrily denied any suggestion she had played Morgan the recording herself or authorised anyone to access her phone. She said police have told her they have evidence her phone was hacked.
“I couldn’t quite believe that (Morgan) would even try to insinuate — a man that has written nothing but awful things about me for years — … (that) I had played a voicemail message to him,” she said.
Mills said that in early 2001, McCartney had left her a string of voice messages after they had argued about a trip she was planning to India.
“In the morning, when I woke up, there were many messages, but they were all saved messages which I did not quite understand,” she said. “I thought I must have pressed a wrong button.”
She was later called by a former employee of Trinity Mirror, the Daily Mirror’s parent company, who said they had heard the recording.
“I said, ‘there’s no way that you could know that unless you have been listening to my messages’,” she told the inquiry. The caller was not a Mirror journalist or anyone working under Morgan.
Mills, a former glamour model, said she had threatened to take legal action if the story was published, and it was not at the time.
But Morgan referred to having heard the message in a piece for the Daily Mail tabloid in 2006.
Mills divorced McCartney in 2008 after six years of marriage. The former Beatle, 69, married New York heiress Nancy Shevell in October.
The Leveson Inquiry was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in July after the hacking scandal engulfed the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World, forcing it to close after 168 years.