Princess Diana’s butler has been compensated by the Mirror for tapping his phone
Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell received a public apology and compensation from the publisher of the Mirror tabloid for hacking his phone and repeatedly invading his privacy, AFP and DPA reported.
Burrell, a friend and confidant of Diana, Princess of Wales, sued the media group Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) after he was targeted by private investigators instructed by the publisher and had his voicemails intercepted, BTA added.
At the High Court in London, the media group claimed responsibility for the hacking attacks between 1995 and 2008, during Lady Di’s divorce from the current King Charles III and long after the princess’s 1997 death in a car crash in Paris.
Offering a sincere apology to his client, the media group’s lawyer acknowledged the “distress caused by obtaining personal information and accessing his voicemail”. He also said that the publisher of the “Mirror” promised “never to take such actions again”.
The amount of compensation paid to Paul Burrell was not disclosed.
The British press was rocked at the turn of the century by a massive wiretapping scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World in 2011. In 2015, the Mirror was ordered to pay record damages to a number of high-profile personalities.
“Between 1995 and 2008 the claimant was subject to harassment by the defendant because he was a close friend and confidant of Princess Diana and subsequently because of his role in the public sphere after his retirement from the royal family.” said Frances Lennard, Paul Burrell’s attorney.
He also pointed to the effects of the illegal actions recognized by the tabloid: “While Diana was alive, the defendant’s actions led to a deterioration of relations between Burrell and the princess, as she mistakenly believed that extremely sensitive personal information was being leaked to the press.”
The wiretapping also soured his relationship with his defense when Paul Burrell was accused of stealing hundreds of Diana’s personal items after her death – charges of which he was acquitted.
In addition to tapping his voicemail, the Mirror hired private detectives at least three times to get information from the former valet, his defense said. This led to the publication of “numerous articles about the claimant, arising from illegally obtained information, which seriously affected his reputation”, in the words of lawyer Lennard.