12:10 GMT03 August 2020
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    Former senior royal Prince Harry announced last year that he would start a legal battle against the owners of the Daily Mail and the Sun due to the alleged hacking of his voicemail messages. It has now been revealed, however, that illegal intrusion into his private life might go much further back than initially assumed.

    Prince Harry voicemails were already intercepted as early as February 2001, while he was preparing for his GCSE exams, a whistleblower’s interview with Byline Investigates has revealed. Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who previously served a six-month prison sentence over a hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, said that he carried out the illegal penetration into the Duke of Sussex life as he was instructed to dig out a story about the royal’s alleged consumption of drugs and alcohol.

    “As the lead investigator, I was tasked by Greg Miskiw [former news editor of News of the World] to forensically gather as much intelligence about Prince Harry’s activities in the nocturnal hours, with a view to enhancing the newspaper’s ‘project’”, Mulcaire revealed. “The instruction was to monitor communications and to identify any references to drugs”.

    The former resident of UK’s Belmarsh prison explained that he used an “investigating profiling technique” to illegally access customer accounts by “cloning” the identities of staffers from mobile companies.  According to Mulcaire, he was then able to listen into voicemails, including those possibly “left by Harry and his friends”.

    Glenn Mulcaire arrives for his phone hacking case at the Old Bailey court in the City of London, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012
    © AP Photo / Matt Dunham
    Glenn Mulcaire arrives for his phone hacking case at the Old Bailey court in the City of London, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012

    Since his imprisonment back in 2007 for illegally intercepting phone messages from Clarence House, Mulcaire has emerged as a prominent whistleblower into the News of the World’s hacking activities. During his interview with Byline Investigates, Mulcaire said that the “project” into searching for traces of 16-year-old Prince Harry’s alleged drug consumption was driven by Rebekah Wade, now Brooks, the editor of News of the World at that time.

    Brooks, who is now the CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, was probably not satisfied with the results of the investigator’s illegal probe.

    “Rebekah won’t have liked the results of the fishing expedition”, the whistleblower explained. “There was no evidence that Prince Harry was using drugs, soft, hard or otherwise.”

    Brooks herself was cleared of all charges in relation to the News International phone hacking scandal, that featured allegations relating to the interception of phone messages from Prince Harry’s brother, Prince William and other members of the royal families and their aides from 2005 onwards. But it now looks like the illegal intrusion started much earlier than initially thought.

    Last October, Prince Harry announced that he would be suing the owners of the Sun and the Daily Mirror over presumed hacking into his phone and private messages that go way back to the 2000s.  These steps were closely followed by his wife, Meghan Markle, who is currently pursuing legal action against Associated Newspapers, which owns the Mail On Sunday and the Mail Online, over breaches of privacy and misuse of information.

    Tags:
    News of the World, The Sun newspaper, Daily Mail, Rupert Murdock, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, United Kingdom
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