London: Britain`s phone-hacking scandal
appeared to be spreading to newspaper titles beyond those
owned by Rupert Murdoch, with fresh claims dragging the Mirror
group into the mire of allegations of eavesdropping on
In a dramatic turn to the scandal, former journalists
at the Mirror group said they witnessed phone hacking at their
newspapers and that the practice was "endemic".
So far, the allegations had clouded newspapers of the
News International group, the largely affected being the now
closed News of the World.
In fresh developments, James Hipwell, a former
journalist of the Daily Mirror told The Independent that he
would be willing to testify in front of a public inquiry into
the episode headed by Justice Brian Leveson.
The BBC also quoted a former employee of the Sunday
Mirror as claiming that he witnessed routine phone hacking in
the newsroom, with celebrities including actress Liz Hurley
and footballer Rio Ferdinand targeted.
The two newspapers were among the main competitors of
News International`s tabloids.
However, Trinity Mirror defended itself against the
allegations and said its journalists work within the criminal
law and Press Complaints Commission code of conduct.
Hipwell, 45, also alleged that hacking took place on
other newspapers within the Trinity Mirror group, including
The People, where Sean Hoare, the whistleblower who died
recently, was working before moving to the News of the World.
"It was endemic. Sean didn`t suddenly move from one
tabloid where it didn`t happen to another where it did. But at
the time it wasn`t illegal," he was quoted as saying by The