A private detective apologized for spying on the Duke of Sussex’s ex-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, when she and Prince Harry were dating.
Gavin Burrows told the BBC that the press had focused on Prince Harry in the 2000s as a “new Diana.”
Burrows was one of the many private investigators employed by British newspapers to obtain information on some personages.
Exposing unethical and sometimes illegal methods of obtaining such information, including access to voice messages, has sparked a wave of legal cases in recent years.
Prince Harry is one of several people who took legal action against The Sun and News of the World publishing house, News Group Newspapers, as well as the owner of the Daily Mirror, over allegations of phone hacking and other illegal compilation activities. news.
Now Burrows is one of the witnesses in the ongoing cases against the News of the World and The Sun newspapers.
The private investigator’s claims appear in the BBC documentary The Princes and the Press, which investigates the relationship between princes and the media.
His account, which has yet to be proven in court and is hotly contested, sheds new light on the background of a latent conflict over the conduct of the press.
Harry sold more
Burrows told the show that there was much more interest in Prince Harry than Prince William when he started working for News of the World in 2000.
“As a couple of editors explained to me, Harry had basically become the new Diana,” he said.
The publishers told him that with Prince Harry on the cover, more copies were sold than with Prince William, he said.
The private detective said that when the prince began dating Davy in 2004, a lucrative new avenue of business was opened by hacking his communications.
“A lot of voice messages were hacked, there was a lot of surveillance work on his phones, on his communications. Chelsy bragged to his friends when he went to see him,” he said.
Burrows added that investigators were interested in his medical records, ex-boyfriends and details of his education.
The detective apologized, stating that he was “very sorry” and that he acted this way “because I was greedy, I liked cocaine and lived in a false state of greatness.”
But he added that there was a “ruthless” culture in some media at that time: “They had no morals, absolutely no morals.”
He also said that he regretted the treatment he had given Prince Harry. “I was basically part of a group of people who robbed him of his normal teenage years,” Burrows said.
News of the World was Britain’s leading Sunday newspaper until 2011, when the owners closed it after a series of damaging reports, including that the newspaper hacked the phone of the murdered girl Milly Dowler.
Espionage on a “phenomenal” scale
News Group Newspapers accepts a limited number of illegal activities that took place on News of the World.
However, he denies that there have been any wrongdoing at The Sun and has not accepted responsibility in any of the phone hacking cases he is charged with.
Attorney Callum Galbraith, who is coordinating current legal actions against News Group Newspapers, said the scale of the use of private investigators by the News of the World and other newspapers, which began in the early 1990s and lasted through 2011 When the police launched a new investigation, it was “absolutely phenomenal.”
In a criminal trial in 2014, it was revealed that former Royal News of the World editor Clive Goodman had hacked Kate Middleton’s messages 155 times when she was dating Prince William. He also hacked both princes’ phones.
The princes felt “really violated” and both were initially “determined” to solve their problems with the publishing house, said Peter Hunt, a former royal correspondent for the BBC.
Harry, a harsh critic of the media and an advocate for reform, has so far refused to settle his phone hacking claim, raising the possibility of a trial.
Hunt said seeing the prince face the newspapers in court over allegations of illegal activity – apparently driven by “avenging” what he sees as unfair treatment of his mother – would be a “very significant” moment in British public life.
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“I’m sorry I kept an eye on Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend.”