PRINCESS Diana leaked information about the Prince of Wales as she sought “an ally” in the press in order to “take on” her estranged husband, former News of the World reporter Clive Goodman has told the phone hacking trial.
Princess Diana leaked information about the Prince of Wales as she sought “an ally” in the press in order to “take on” her estranged husband, former News of the World reporter Clive Goodman has told the phone hacking trial.
Goodman said Diana, who separated from her husband in 1992 after 11 years of marriage, passed him information relating to the royal household and staff.
The now-defunct tabloid’s former royal editor, of Addlestone in Surrey, said: “She was going through a very, very difficult time. She told me she wanted me to see the scale of her husband’s staff and household, compared with others.
“She felt she was being swamped by people close to his household. She was looking for an ally to take him on – to show there were forces that would rage against him.”
Goodman, 56, denies two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.
Diana and Charles divorced in 1996. She was killed in a car crash in Paris a year later. Goodman said he used royal “Green Book” directories and internal telephone directories (ITDs), containing contact numbers for staff and senior members of the household, for stories.
Asked by his counsel, David Spens QC, how he received them, he said one Green Book was given to him in 1992 by the Princess of Wales. He said: “That arrived at my office in Wapping with my name on it.
“She [Diana] had a [good] relationship with several journalists – Richard Kay at the Daily Mail, Martin Bashir of Panorama.”
Goodman told the Old Bailey he did not pay for the books.
The former journalist said the information was largely available from various sources in the public domain but that the books and ITDs collated it into easily readable documents.
Asked how he used information contained within them, Goodman recalled several stories he had written which benefited from having royal contact numbers.
In one example, he recalled that he contacted a source the night of Diana’s death, after the royal press officer “was frankly useless”.
Goodman said: “I explained what was going on in Paris – that helped mobilise him. I called him at home at 1am on the Sunday. I had his number.”
For another story immediately following Diana’s death, Goodman said there was public upset at an apparent “lack of respect” being shown by senior members of the royal family in not flying a Buckingham Palace flag at half-mast.
He said: “People wanted the flag at half-mast but the palace got caught up in stuffy protocol because the Queen wasn’t there. Then a flag shot up a pole for about 20 minutes and then came down again. The palace said it was a mistake but we had a tip-off that it was a palace fireman who was so enraged.”
Goodman said he used the contacts book to track down the fireman, who confirmed the story off the record.
Earlier, Goodman said that competition at the News of the World (NotW) was so fierce that a colleague deliberately sabotaged an expose that an A-list model was moonlighting as a high-class prostitute. Goodman said investigative reporter Mazher Mahmood was setting up a sting involving the £2,000-a-night model – whom he declined to name – only for a jealous NotW colleague to call the model’s agent and warn them.
Goodman said: “There were regular byline counts – who wasn’t performing. It was extremely competitive – very fast, busy. It was competitive between everyone, with each other and other departments.”
Goodman and six other defendants deny all charges. The trial continues.