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Ex-Mirror journalist says he was asked to give Coronation Street star flowers containing listening device | UK News

A former Mirror Group journalist has told Sky News that he was asked to give a Coronation Street actress a bunch of flowers bugged with a listening device during a visit to a spa.

Dean Piper, a showbiz reporter at The Mirror in the early 2000s, said he was asked to carry out the task while working for the paper’s sister title, The Sunday People.

However, he said he refused and later decided to leave the paper.

Last week, in a privacy case brought by Prince Harry, a High Court judge found another practice – phone hacking – was carried out by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) from 1996 to 2011.

The judge said hacking was “widespread and habitual” from 1998.

He also found there was “some unlawful activity” – involving the use of private investigators – in 1995.

Britain's Prince Harry walks outside the High Court, in London, Britain March 30, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Prince Harry, pictured outside the High Court in May

Speaking to the UK Tonight with Sarah Jane Mee about his experience working at MGN, Mr Piper said: “The worst thing I was ever asked – and it was probably ultimately what made me walk from my job at The People – involved Coronation Street star Tracy Shaw.

“She was having a lot of issues in those days, but she was very big news. She was on the front cover all the time.

“I was called over at one point and said that I was going to go to a spa and have a spa break, and I thought: ‘Brilliant’.

“They said you are going to have a bunch of flowers, and we’re going to put a bug in it, and we’re going to deliver it to Tracy Shaw, and we have booked the room right next door to her, and you’re just going to stay up all night and write down everything that’s gone on.”

Mr Piper said he “point-blank refused” the request.

“There were enough whipper-snappers that want to further their career that probably would have taken the flowers, but that wasn’t morally right, and it’s kind of illegal,” he said.

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This notice was published: 2023-12-18 20:22:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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