Chapter 1 - Fake Stories
The general public would not believe how many news stories are fake, and how many sex and sleaze activities exposed by the press were regularly indulged in by the very same two-faced journalists who had blown the lid off them. Is it any wonder that journalists are now rated by the general public on the same low footing as lawyers, the police, politicians and pornographers? The newspaper stories detailed in the following press cuttings were all bent in some way, yet they were put out by the editors of each respective newspaper. In this chapter I give the real, inside story on many tall tales published as the truth...
Take Piers Morgan for example. He was fired recently after printing 60 pages of rubbish! (Stuart Kuttner remained in his job, printed even more rubbish, until the News of the World's demise in 2011)
God knows how many coalition troops were killed or wounded as a result of Morgan’s cynical and opportunistic photos. During his most recent TV appearance you would have thought it never happened. He didn’t refer to it once! Nor was he asked a question about it, by his pals on the chat show!
Pure Fiction: The time span was the seventies and eighties when I teamed up with reporter Ray Chapman on at least 20 major series ordered by Murdoch. These included a long-running saga on ‘Welfare Scroungers’, then exposing ‘left-wing revolutionaries’ and finally many so-called sex scandals, mainly exposing wife swappers, one of whom committed suicide after a dubious story appeared. Chapman was one of the longest serving reporters on the paper until his retirement in 2007.Almost every single story I was associated with was pure fiction. If the facts didn’t fit the brief, we made them up. I paid actors to pose in so called ‘snatch’ pictures. A snatch or candid picture is one where the subject is not aware of being photographed or is unwilling to be photographed.
When Rupert Murdoch first bought the News of the World in one of the city’s most controversial take-overs, he was determined to be a “hands on” proprietor. At first the staff, including the editor Stafford Summerfield, treated him as an Aussie sheep farmer. But he fired anyone who got in his way, including Summerfield, and soon made radical changes to the paper. A little while later he included the Sun to his Bouverie Street stable.Murdoch had an obsession to expose welfare scroungers and left-wing militants
and continually put his executive into ‘fast forward’ for exposure stories. Everyone from the news editor to the top brass would accept almost anything if it pleased Murdoch.
Rupert said, “The subjects were tailor-made for journalistic scam”.Dole Dodgers: One of the things which first appalled Murdoch about London was what he saw as blatant abuse of the social services by welfare scroungers. He declared war on them and let his executives know that he wanted a full and long running exposure. Every budding, hungry, or down and out freelance quickly realised that the paper would buy almost any story which exposed dole fiddlers, of which of course there were thousands.
Me and my sidekick Ray Chapman retained several freelancers who spotted an immediate and lucrative money-spinner and got to work. We had often used two down and outs, one called Smokey and the other Michael, to manufacture stories, and both were immediately recruited to hunt out the dole dodgers.
The whole campaign went on for a decade but was kicked off by a two part series to which veteran reporter Ron Mount put his name. Mount was a suspect expoliceman who, when in the force, had been useful to the News of the World as an informer. When he was found out and fired, the paper gave him a job.
He was also a chronic alcoholic who had two girl friends and a wife and family at home. His favourite watering hole was the Wine Press, a trendy place actually in Fleet Street at the top of Bouverie Street.We faked too many stories to list. Here are just a few of them:
Spaghetti Scroungers - A story appeared on the front page of the News of the World during August 1979, about numerous illegal Italian immigrants. This story was another fabrication. Me and Ray Chapman faked the photographs to support it. It led to an investigation by Lynda Chalker who was Under Secretary of the Health and Social Security department at the time. Not all these men were claiming social security. Another winner for Rupert.NEWS OF THE WORLD
SPECIAL INQUIRY: DOLE OFFICIALS HIT OUT AT THE ...
NEWS OF THE WORLD EXPOSES THE SPAGHETTI SCROUNGERS
IT'S A FREE COUNTRY!
That's why the scroungers are invading us
Me and Chapman ferreted out some good tales but, to tell the truth, every last one of them was a setup. We’d go out, set up a picture, then Chapman would invent the story to go with them and we’d deliver it to Ron Mount (the ex flying squad copper). Throughout the whole series, Mount never left the wine bar and never came on a single story.
]On one occasion, knowing that we had a free hand, me and Chapman bought six bottles of wine and went to a dole office in Bishops Gate where welfare could be obtained instantly in cash because it specialised in the homeless. The faithful Smokey, always pocketing his £50 daily fee, went up to the queue (which was spilling out onto the street) and gave the claimants the six bottles of wine. Cutler duly photographed this merry band downing the wine with glee.
A certain piquancy was added to the story because I had bought Smokey a T-shirt which said plainly on the back “Britain is Great”.
Chapman then wrote a wholly inaccurate piece alleging that these same people went to a different dole queue each day and spent all their money having street parties on the taxpayer. We delivered it to Mount in the wine bar where he was incoherent and he in turn gave it to his news editor, Bob Warren. The story went straight up to Murdoch who was elated.
The News of the World duly thundered about the dole dodgers and Mount bathed for weeks in the series success.
Fiddler On The Roof - Sunday 6th August 1978 - One of the most important faked stories was headlined: “Fiddler On the Roof” which took over the whole of the front page. It was one of many “Scroungers” stories ordered directly by Murdoch. This story was about a fictitious building and roofing contractor Stan Clarke, who was supposed to have employed men off the dole and turned a blind eye to them claiming benefits whilst working for him. Stan Clarke didn’t exist of course, the story was totally fabricated by Ray Chapman and myself. Rupert laughed at the idea.Slippery Stan makes £ 140 a week from his dole racket, by Ray Chapman
Smokey Cummines was dressed up in Ian Cutler's hat and coat for this faked picture.
As before, we employed our rogue friend, Smokey Cummines, who recruited claimants direct from the DHSS offices to ‘pose’ for pictures. They were paid £10 cash to pose as roofing workers. Cummines was actually a former (sacked) prison officer.
Cummines pretended to be Stan Clarke and I lent him my hat and overcoat to ‘disguise’ him as a ‘bare-faced fiddler on the roof’. We paid him his usual fee, £50, for this scam. He only did it for the beer money.
Cheeky Confessions of the Wedding Photographer - News of the World Splash - Another fake story appeared in the News of the World in March 1980. This one was a complete fabrication about the invented character Robert Croft, who was allegedly a wedding photographer Casanova. The man didn’t exist but the story sold papers. Rupert was happy again.NEWS OF THE WORLD
THEY WATCH THE BRIDE, THE BRIDESMAIDS AND THE MATRONS OF HONOUR!
CHEEKY CONFESSIONS OF THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Bobby Cummines, CEO of Unlock, had nothing to do with wedding photograph
CAMERAMAN MIKE CLICKED 3 TIMES AT ONE WEDDING
Wedding photographer story scam approved by Rupert
The character of Robert Croft was roughly based on my own life. In my teens, as a young wedding photographer, before joining the News of the World, I would do eight or nine weddings every Saturday in Finsbury Town Hall. It would often happen that the bridegroom would get pissed and I would take the opportunity to screw his new bride. Failing that I would usually get to fuck a bridesmaid or two. I have always enjoyed my work.
Bobby Cummines OBE FRSA, is now the CEO of the pressure group Unlock, The National Association of Reformed Offenders. He is Smokey's brother and was formerly one of the United Kingdom's most notorious bank robbers. He often used to pose for me in fake stories. This time we slung a camera around his neck and used him to help us 'expose' a fictitious wedding photographer who supposedly seduced brides. I held a drink’s party in my garden and posed all the pictures, but there never was a bride or a marriage.
Dramatic Thames Rescue - Another major story, for the Evening Standard this time, showed a photograph of Douglas Smith being rescued by Patrick O’Connor. The story told how Smith had fallen overboard from a pleasure boat on the Thames, and O’Connor, a bystander had gallantly dived in to save him. However, the two knew each other and planned the stunt together to get some positive publicity for O’Connor who was shortly due in court.
“Red" Ted Knight (born 13 June 1933) controlled Lambeth council. When the Conservative Government passed the Rates Act 1984 to limit the budgets of local councils, several left-wing Labour councils organised a rebellion in which they refused to set a budget. All the councils eventually backed down except Liverpool City Council and Lambeth. The district auditor found that the council had lost interest on tax payments as a result, which was held to be due to the "wilful misconduct" of Knight and 31 other councillors. Each was required to repay the amount of lost interest in a surcharge and banned from holding office for five years. Neil Kinnock blamed leaders like "Red Ted" Knight and Linda Bellos from Lambeth, for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute. In our attempt to embarrass him further, Chapman and I paid for black models to pose as council workers moonlighting in council time with council equipment.
When trying to expose illegal immigrants claiming dole at Kings Cross, me and Chapman dived into an Italian restaurant called Luigi’s and paid all the waiters and kitchen staff £10 each to pose outside the dole office making rude gestures to the welfare state.
The Posh Beckham Kidnapping - News of the World (November 3rd 2002) - A fun story by Mazher Mahmoud and Gerry Brown (known to colleagues as 'Gerry-can' or ‘Brown Gerry’, brown as in toilet). In 2002 Detective Chief Superintendent John Coles, the head of SO7, said yesterday: "As a result of information from the News of the World, SO7 Kidnap Unit conducted an operation to arrest a group of individuals who are suspected of having been involved in theft and a conspiracy to commit kidnap.
Stuart Kuttner, managing editor of the News of the World, told Sky News: "About six weeks ago we were alerted that a gang of Romanians and Albanian criminals, or people of that persuasion, had a plan to try and kidnap Victoria Beckham".
Although I wasn't personally involved in this story (I had retired by then) I knew the journalists who were and I had no doubt what was going on. I contacted Gavin Hodges and Joseph Reams, solicitors of 70 Marylebone Lane, London W14 2TT. They were the defence team for the Bosnian defendants accused of kidnapping David Beckham's wife Victoria (formerly known as Posh Spice of the pop group the Spice Girls).Moment Saves Victoria and her sons from thugs
Victoria: "I'm in total shock"
Beckham’s kidnap story was all Bollocks!! Rupert loved this idea.
I posed the question as to how a bunch of illegal immigrants who didn't know London from the Suez Canal could find where David and Victoria Beckham lived when most Londoner's born and bred had no idea. Knowing the gutter press well, having worked for the News of the World for so long, and how they often set up stories or simply make them up, my instinct was that the down on their luck Bosnian illegal immigrants had been given the address where David and Victoria Beckham lived. I had little doubt who had put the kidnap idea into their heads. A financial inducement from the press in order to create a story that would engender massive income worldwide would be par for the course.IF BECKHAM DON'T PAY UP, SHE DIES
Beckham’s kidnap story was all bollocks, just 6 pages of rubbish approved by Rupert
Solicitors for the defence used my information and put it to the judge. Armed with this knowledge and the iffy nature of the police allegations which by then had created massive worldwide media coverage the Judge threw the case out.
Could the press have set up a fake kidnapping? I think so. Whatever, Rupert Murdoch's News of the Screws did all right out of it. If the press had actually set up the story and bribed desperate illegal immigrants to attempt to carry out the kidnap, they got their money's worth.
G.A.Y.M.C.A.: Out of all the manufactured stories in which I took part as a willing accomplice (and often engineering them myself) the story on the frontpage of the News of the World on March 18th 1980 headlined, “We expose the shocking truth about the GAYMCA” with a strap line - “Showpiece Hotel is pick-up paradise for these weirdos,” takes the biscuit.
Homosexuality was still illegal at that time. The story went into great detail about the £15 million showpiece of the Young Men’s Christian Association - Plush Hotel Y - which had supposedly become a “gathering place” for rent boys. The by-lines were: “Special Investigation by Martin Turner and Michael Parker. Pictures by Ian Cutler.”
Following a tip-off, the three of us tried to penetrate Hotel Y, which for a while we did. But the tip-off just didn’t stand up. We couldn’t find a genuine rent boy, even after touting ourselves and offering fairly serious money. So we decided to provide our own evidence.
I cannot now recall whether Turner was fully involved with subterfuge, but Michael Parker most certainly was, Parker knew full well that I, through my underground contacts in the sex trade which I often exploited, had hired a rent boy for the day and paid him £50 over and above the going rate.
The story we concocted “exposed” three youths purporting to be rent boys, using the hotel to ply their trade. Making them look like “snatch shots” (journalistic jargon for snapping a victim when they are unawares) Parker and I dressed up the hired boy in widely different garbs. Three of the pictures taken and submitted actually depict the same youth.
In one he is wearing a false moustache and a crash helmet, presumably entering the premises, the next, without a moustache is the same boy hiding behind a book smoking a joint, and the third is an innocuous picture of a young man, which did not get published but seemed genuine enough to warrant three separate statements which were entirely fabricated by “Cyril”, “Paul” and “Alan”.Showpiece hotel is a pick-up paradise for these weirdos
Cutler and Parker dressed up a boy in widely different garbs. In three of the pictures taken and submitted they actually depict the same youth.
The unholy alliance of Parker and myself then triumphantly took the pictures and story back to the News of the World. We made sure it was put into the hands of Craig McKenzie (brother of the notorious Kelvin) who was then one of the chief subs. McKenzie himself then became fully and knowingly involved with this wretched subterfuge.
The Hitler Diaries: On 22nd April 1983, German magazine Stern announced that it had discovered the Hitler Diaries. Journalist Gerd Heidemann claimed to have received the diaries from East Germany, smuggled out by a "Dr. Fischer". The diaries were supposed to be part of a consignment of documents recovered from an aircraft crash in Börnersdorf near Dresden in April 1945. Two historians, Hugh Trevor-Roper of Times Newspapers and Gerhard Weinberg of Newsweek, authenticated the diaries. Serialisation rights were sold for huge sums. Murdoch was one of top bidders and the Times ran a front page scoop on The Hitler Diaries. When they were exposed as fakes Rupert said… ‘IT’S ONLY FUCKING ENTERTAINMENT ANYWAY!’
Stern editors Peter Koch and Felix Schmidt resigned from the magazine; Frank Giles stood down as editor of The Sunday Times; and William Broyles resigned from Newsweek. The episode was much ridiculed in the UK media (particularly by the Sunday Times' rival newspapers), and Trevor-Roper's reputation was seriously damaged. But did Murdoch suffer? What do you think?Rupert Murdoch
Scandal of the Sardine Hostels - Me and Gerry Brown went on a story about overcrowded student accommodation. We found a few privately run dormitories but nothing that came anywhere close to the squalor we were looking for so I faked the pictures. We even claimed that some tourists to London were being treated like this. Ridiculous !!!SCANDAL OF THE SARDINE HOSTELS. 40 TOURISTS SLEEP IN A SQUALID BASEMENT
Me and Gerry faked most of these pictures
Fury of the Evil Escort Boss - In July 1984 Trevor Kempson and me went to London's West End to expose an escort agency offering 'extras'. During the interview the owner of the agency, a pimp known locally as 'The Beast', hit Trevor. In the article Trevor claimed he had been kicked and hit with a gas cylinder. Before photographing his injuries I applied make up to Trevor's face to make the damage look much worse than it was. One of the girls photographed wasn't even involved. She was my girlfriend, we just needed an extra face. Of course the News of the World hierarchy were well aware that we had fabricated part of this story.FURY OF THE EVIL ESCORT BOSS
The cut on Trevor's face was exagerated with make-up, by us, for the News of the World
The Good Night Shift was another good one. In November 1979 me and Gerry Brown were sent up to Birmingham to catch British Leyland night shift workers at the Longbridge plant sleeping on the job. When we got there we found both production lines working at full pelt. The whole thing had been a hoax. Nevertheless we had been sent to get the pictures so that's what we did. There was a room where the workers went during rest breaks so we set up some fake shots there.Exposed: The Leyland of Nod where the Rover paintshop men turn out the lights and go to bed
THE GOODNIGHT SHIFT
It was an open secret we slept on the job
THE GOOD NIGHT SHIFT THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN IN THEIR REST ROOM, THERE WERE TWO SHOPS WORKING AT FULL PELT, AND IT LOOKED AS IF THEY WERE SLEEPING, BUT THEY WEREN'T. THIS IS HOW WE WORKED IT FOR THE NEWS OF THE WORLD.
To our utter amazement the nation fell hook line and sinker for this garbage. But it was the time when Mrs. Thatcher's spin doctors had been bombarding us all with their propaganda about workers and unions.
Other right wing papers eagerly picked up on the story and the Sun's cartoonist, Franklin, had a field day.LEYLAND NIGHT SHIFT CALLED OUT OVER ROBBO SACKINGSEX PILLS TO PEP UP CAR WORKERSSTATE-RUN SOCCER, FOUNDED BY YOUNG SOCIALISTS
"I TOLD YOU IT WOULD END UP LIKE BRITISH LEYLAND!"