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Daily Mirror Editor Says Hacking May Have Happened at Paper

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The editor of the Daily Mirror tabloid told a judge-led inquiry into U.K. press ethics that phone hacking by reporters may have taken place under his watch, although he wasn’t aware of any instances.

Richard Wallace, who has edited the Trinity Mirror Group Plc paper since 2004, also told the inquiry in London that the tabloid on occasion paid staff at prisons and hospitals for information about inmates and patients if it was “in the public interest.” He said he wasn’t aware of payments to police officers -- a practice under investigation by the Metropolitan Police, which is also probing phone hacking and computer hacking at News Corp.’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

James Hipwell, the former “City Slicker” columnist who went to jail for using stock tips to manipulate the market, told the same inquiry last month that phone hacking took place at the Daily Mirror’s show-business desk on a nearly daily basis when Piers Morgan, edited the newspaper. Morgan, who edited the tabloid from 1995 to 2004 and is now a CNN broadcaster, denied the claim in his own testimony.

The British government set up the inquiry after revelations that journalists at the News of the World hacked into voice-mail messages of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002. Rupert Murdoch’s company shut the Sunday tabloid in July after the practice was shown to be widespread.

The inquiry, led by Judge Brian Leveson, has previously heard testimony that phone hacking may have extended to other tabloids, including News Corp.’s Sun, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail & General Trust Plc’s Mail on Sunday. News Corp. has admitted liability in some cases, while the other publishers deny the claims.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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