Sienna Miller described what it was like to be pursued by photographers: ‘For a number of years I was relentlessly pursued by about ten to fifteen men almost daily, pretty much daily and, you know, anything from being spat at or verbally abused. I think that the incentive is really to get as strong a reaction as possible, so – you know, as other people have mentioned – but being jumped out at, when you get a shock, or saying things to kind of get some emotional reaction. They seemed to go to any lengths to try to upset you, which is really difficult to deal with.’ She went on: ‘I would often find myself – I was twenty-one – at midnight running down a dark street on my own with ten big men chasing me and the fact that they had cameras in their hands meant that that was legal, but if you take away the cameras, what have you got? You’ve got a pack of men chasing a woman and obviously that’s a very intimidating situation to be in.’

As part of an intensive operation against Charlotte Church, who was just sixteen when it began, the News of the World hacked her phone and the phones of her mother, Maria, and stepfather, James. They also hacked the phones of others in her small Welsh village, including that of the Parish Vicar.

Church said reporters ‘totally immersed’ themselves in her life and has alleged that the paper published thirty-three hacking-based news stories about her in four years. One story in 2005 revealed that her stepfather had had an affair and had taken cocaine. Shortly before that was published her mother, who had known about the affair and knew the article was being prepared, attempted to take her own life. Church told the inquiry: ‘It just had a massive, massive impact on my family life, on my mother’s health – which the News of the World had reported on before then – on her mental health state and her hospital treatment, which we also think the only way they could have known about that hospital treatment, etc., was either through the hacking or possibly through the bribing of hospital staff, etc. So they knew how vulnerable she was and still printed this story.’

In her written statement Church described the sequel: ‘The News of the World put a proposal to my mother. The proposal was that News of the World wanted an exclusive story of her breakdown, self-harming and attempted suicide in exchange for not printing a follow-up story about my father’s infidelity. My mother gave them the exclusive interview, which was published on 18 December 2005. She felt she had no choice other than to play by their rules. The follow-up story of my father’s sex life was then published in the People the next week anyway. This sequence of events drove my mother to additional self-harming and had a dramatic impact on her mental health. The havoc that the press have created within my family has been devastating.’

14 Responses to “INTIMIDATION”

  1. Jarrad

    100% agree with you. David Cameron has the chance to stand up for the people.

    Thinking of all the victims.

  2. RT

    Leveson has done an excellent job and has made sensible workable recommendations. If only Cameron could grow a set and put the legislative wheels in motion, Cameron could then look the Dowlers in the eye and say ” As your PM, your public servant, I have done right by you and all like you” so until he can follow the clever sensible and practical Levenson recommendations Cameron’s integrity is damaged.

  3. Darzil

    I’m not sure that the chasing people down a dark street is legal because you have a camera. I think it’s just that they aren’t prosecuted. I can see no reason why they could not be prosecuted.

    • Steve Holmes

      They couldn’t be prosecuted because large payments were being made to select police officers, and large favours were advanced to politicians.
      Thus lawbreakers were protected by “the long arm of the law” and the self styled “party of law and order”.

      • awhitear

        in the pulic eye you should expect the press to follow you we need a free press if you have nothing to hide why worry

  4. RL Willott

    The activities of the gutter press has to be curtailed so ordinary people can go about their business in peace.

  5. Tony Dalton

    Cameron is a complete Joke. He has been weak from day one.
    The Levenson Inquiry was originally set up to take the pressure off him and his corrupt friends in the press.
    He has learned nothing, He seems to be doing exactly the same again in answer to Levenson.
    What gets me the BBC seem to be supporting him more than the commercial media.
    Which must mean we need another investigation into the BBC and it’s corrupt practices yet again.

  6. simon duckett

    If the government struggles over Privacy Bill they should ask the French government for help. They produced good privacy law for the people of France.

    Lord Leveson sadly did not robustly address the core needs for those people violated by British media. Radical reform is so overdue!

    When will PM Cameron resign for being inappropriately close to the mire of NI?

  7. Stephen Browne

    This is just outrageous behaviour, and it needs to stop. Some, those who would judge us, prosecute us or make the laws by which we are to behave are legitimate targets, but, those who are just going about their daily business should be left alone. Whether Ryan Giggs needs a stronger zip for his trousers is his business, and not that of anyone else. He isn’t leading anyone, lecturing us on how we should behave or anything else, he kicks a ball around, The same when the reported Michael Fish for having an affair, he is a weather forecaster, and his behaviour is between him and his wife and absolutely nothing at all to do with anyone else.

    These people do not lead, or set themselves up as “role” models and they are entitled to privacy in whatever they choose to do in their lives. In my mind, it is not even news.

  8. Sian Davies

    Some sections of the press (particularly the tabloids) have run roughshod over ethics and decency for so long it is absolutely sickening. How what happened to Milly Dowler, Charlotte Church and others can pass for ‘public interest’ stories as the press like to claim is beyond me. Cameron’s response to Leveson totally unsurprsing. Always has been and always will be in the pocket of Murdoch (along with many other poiliticians of all parties). Hope your campaign will be effective, good luck.

  9. Steve Holmes

    I expected no more of Cameron than this retreat to the arms of his friends and protectors in the gutter press.

    People of the UK should remember he is a threatened leader of a minority party.
    He lacks the legitimacy of an election victory and speaks for a minority.

    Time to call last orders on the last chance saloon.

  10. John Joseph

    Hacked Off is a deeply frightening organisation. You are the people George Orwell warned us about. You are willing to sacrifice the freedom of the press — a freedom that cannot be limited without being lost — in order to protect film stars’ “privacy” … [edited by moderator].

    • Mrs J Pocock

      It is quite obvious to me and I imagine a lot of other people that it is easy to draw the line as to whether a story the press print should be published and is of public interest or not. If a person is having an extra marital affair or not, is their own busines and should not be printed just because they are well known – I wonder how many marriages have broken up that might have survived if the press had not been so intrusive and published details of an affair. I am not a particular fan of celebraties as far too so many of them seem to lead immoral and shallow lives (or so the press would have us believe), but at the end of the day they are still human beings with feelings and suffer like the rest of us and of course we see only the side the press show us and indeed many are probably not quite so bad as portrayed. Of course, we do need to know about serious things that are happening and are very wong, like MPs fiddling their expenses etc – no sensible person would deny this.

      Comparing George Orwell’s work of fiction to the way things are going today is a load of tosh John Joseph and the fact that you seem to think “film stars” should not have their privacy protected smacks a little at envy on your part. Also, it has been said many times that if members of the public don’t like the stories printed in the newspapers then don’t buy the paper. However, I do like reading about other things such as current and world affairs and the odd human interest story when I do buy a newspaper, although I have not had a daily newspaper delivered for years now as, when I realised the newspaper I was reading ie the Daily Mail was making up so many stories and whipping up so many hate campaigns against certain members of society I cancelled their paper. I believe now that they are one of the worse newspapers on the scene. Unfortunately, too many people I know don’t realise this and believe every word printed!

      Finally, I would like to express my extreme sadness to every person who has suffered at the hands of the press and hope that in the future this abuse by the media will be severely limited by new legislation.


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