Phone Hacking Trial Involving Prince Harry: Mirror Journalists Accused of Targeting Paul Whitehouse’s Cancer-Stricken Wife


Prince Harry’s ongoing trial against Mirror Group Newspapers has heard one of the duke’s fellow claimants give evidence about allegations of unlawful information gathering (UIG) against the newspaper company.
Today’s evidence by comedian Paul Whitehouse’s former wife Fiona Wightman is noticeably different to the other claimants: she has no public profile of her own and has lived a private life.
Her testimony presented a stark difference to that of Harry’s, who was born into the spotlight as a member of the Royal Family.
Wightman told the court about the impact press intrusion had on her as a normal person who was going through an unusually challenging period of her life and had never chosen to be in the public eye.
During the period her claim covers, Wightman had ovarian cancer and her marriage broke down.
“I might die before they grow up,” Wightman said of her feelings towards her children at the time she was diagnosed, adding they “would grow up not knowing how much I loved them”.
Wightman alleged that MGN commissioned a private investigator to unlawfully ‘blag’ her confidential medical information, noting that when journalists “doorstepped [her] they already knew what cancer I had”.

Mirror Journalists on Trial for Hacking the Phone of Cancer-Stricken Wife of Paul Whitehouse

In her witness statement she also described an incident which, in hindsight, she claims to be UIG.
“I received a call from my surgeon’s secretary and she said ‘are you in hospital?’ and I said ‘no!’, and then she said ‘I’ve just had a call from Stanmore Orthopaedic Hospital that you are having treatment on your back and they need details of the treatment we have given you, but I haven’t told them because one I wanted to call you to check you’re ok and two because it seemed fishy’.
“It really threw me and I was completely confused. The call was obviously fake but I couldn’t understand how somebody else could pretend like that with my doctor or who would do such a thing.
The publisher of the Daily Mirror newspaper has apologised “unreservedly” to Prince Harry for unlawfully gathering information about him, the High Court has been told.
Several high-profile figures, including Harry, are bringing damages claims against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over alleged unlawful information gathering at its titles.
The court has been told the “systemic” use of private investigators by journalists to unlawfully obtain private information was authorised by senior editors including Piers Morgan.
Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) said in court documents that the Duke of Sussex was entitled to “appropriate compensation” after accepting it carried out one instance of unlawfully gathering information.

Prince Harry Trial Sheds Light on Alleged Phone Hacking of Paul Whitehouse’s Wife by Mirror Journalists

The statement forms part of the publisher’s defence to claims brought by Harry and other individuals over alleged unlawful information gathering at MGN titles – which also include Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.
As well as Prince Harry, Coronation Street actors Nikki Sanderson and Michael Turner and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman are all expected to give evidence during the six to seven-week trial.
Andrew Green KC, representing the publisher, said voicemail interception was denied in the cases being examined in the trial, including that of the duke. The barrister also said some of the challenges it faces have been brought beyond a legal time limit.
Mr Green added: “There is some evidence of the instruction of third parties to engage in other types of unlawful information gathering in respect of each of the claimants, save for Mr Turner whose claim is entirely denied, and MGN has made pleaded admissions in respect thereof.
“MGN unreservedly apologises for all such instances of unlawful information gathering, and assures the claimants that such conduct will never be repeated.”

The barrister said that it was admitted that a private investigator was instructed, by an MGN journalist at The People, to unlawfully gather information about the duke’s activities at the Chinawhite nightclub one night in February 2004.
Mr Green said there was a reference to a payment record for £75 in February 2004.
He continued: “It is admitted that this represented an instruction to engage in unlawful information gathering, and MGN unreservedly apologises and accepts that the Duke of Sussex is entitled to appropriate compensation for it.
“MGN does not know what information this related to, although it clearly had some connection with his conduct at the nightclub.”
The barrister said that there was a People article published in February 2004 “giving the recollection of a woman Harry spent time with” at the club.
Mr Green added: “The Duke of Sussex notably does not claim in relation to this article, so it is not alleged that this instruction led to the publication of his private information. The fee paid, £75, suggests little work was involved.”

About the author

Olivia Wilson

Add Comment

Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act
Please contact: with the subject DMCA Request.