It’s taken me some time to work out exactly when I contacted the Mirror to expose the Vodafone phone hacking loophole and when I knew I had to get the dates right before I blogged about them in my WEBSITE and also in preparation for my witness testimony at the Leveson Inquiry, I had to make sure I wasn’t wrong, but it now seems I was.
You see, I knew I contacted Oonagh Blackman at the Mirror offices a day or two after I watch a rugby match at the Millenium stadium in Cardiff. Trying to work out which match I went to see was a lot harder than I imagined but after much confusion I opted for the 28th August 1999 when Wales had played France and believed that to be the correct weekend however, after contacting the WRU yesterday and discussing the history of the matches I realised my dates were out by 2 months.
Now bearing in mind, trying to remember so much detail about something that happened 12 years ago ( years based upon my collating info in 2011 ) it wasn’t easy and I wasn’t going to be spot on but thought I was right with the 28th August 1999.
After yesterday’s conversation with P. Owens at WRU at the Millenium stadium, I now know that the date I spoke to Oonagh Blackman at the Mirror was the weekend of 26th June 1999.
Wales played South Africa at the Millenium stadium on the 26th June 1999 and I was there with some guests as we shared a corporate box with a recruitment company so had the luxury of being wined and dined throughout the match. List of Wales matches
It was a ‘friendly’ and the reason why I had the tickets because my bosses didn’t want to bother going so ‘dished’ them out to a few of the sales team.
If it had been an important match, we wouldn’t have got a ‘look-in’. The bosses would have been lording it up as they always did. I’ll blog about that one day, talk about splashing money about, they spent £8,00o in just one night – and there were only 5 of us ! That wasn’t uncommon either.
I have a lot more detail about what happened that day but I know for certain that the day after ( which was Sunday 27th June 1999 ) or the day after that ( Monday 28th June 1999 ) was when I contacted the Mirror.
Strangely, to put into even more detail, I think if I remember rightly, I took the bull before the horns, fuelled up with alcohol from the night before, contacted the Mirror offices, even though it was a Sunday, knowing that they had a Sunday Mirror, might be open and taking calls for stories I spoke to a reporter called Oonagh Blackman and explained what I had discovered. I remember writing her name on the top of a Sunday Mirror after asking her to spell it out because ‘Oonagh’ wasn’t a run of the mill name, not for me anyway.
The night before I was in discussion with some of my customers from Bako Wales ( Welsh Bakers Ltd, Gorseinon ) in the Marriot hotel in Cardiff city centre about the serious implications about the loophole in Vodafone’s security. I had demonstrated how to hack into mobiles and created quite a conversation, especially over a few wines. I had been demonstrating how to hack into mobiles to people for some months by then after discovering it.
Looking back now, I estimate that I came across Vodafone’s lack of security in about April 1999. I didn’t realise the serious implications there were at the time and spent a lot of my time messing about and playing practical jokes on people including my bosses.
I quite often hacked into friends, family and colleagues mobile phones, changed their PIN and added a funny welcome greeting for all to hear. I left a welcome greeting on my Sales Manager’s phone saying “Hi, this is Bob’s massage parlour, I’m not in right now but leave me a message and I’ll get back to you” and he took ages to realise his phone’s voicemail system had been hacked.
My bosses often called me and told me to stop hacking into their phones and changing their personal welcome messages. There’s a prankster in everyone you know.
After contacting Blackman at the Mirror, it was approx two weeks before they ‘blew me off’ and I accused Blackman and the Daily Mirror of keeping the story for themselves to glean scoops and exclusives. Weeks and weeks went by before I received a cheque in the post which coincides with the dates on the remittance advice note dated. See below
So the dates of my testimony aren’t quite correct now. All I can say is I am now 99% certain it was the weekend of the 26th June 1999 when I contacted the Mirror.
It all then escalated from there, I was on a mission to put things I’d done wrong, right. I didn’t want to be held responsible for letting the newspapers know how to hack into voicemails for free and became it a daily task to make sure everyone knew and to see how far I took it take a look at this here where I went just too far trying to expose the what I had done wrong.
In my opinion, it got out of control and to this day, I still don’t know when it all started but the more I hear the more I’m convinced the campaign that I ran to expose who knew probably made it a worse and helped it to spread like wildfire throughout the industry.
Not that any of this info posted here today has any impact on anything relevant anymore. The ongoing Mirror trial hasn’t included me as a witness and Operation Golding, the Met’s Mirror Group phone hacking police haven’t been in touch for a detailed statement. Alan Rusbridger continues to block me on Twitter. My story isn’t as important as I thought but I did get acknowledgement from Nick Davies at The Guardian writing in a copy of his book ‘Hack Attack’ – To Steven Nott “the first man to try and stop the hackup” – there is that I suppose.
So it’s back to normality for me then, campaign over, trying to refrain from comment on Twitter because it’s not getting me anywhere anyway.
I will update this blog soon and give it a little tidy up. I posted it in a rush as I always do.
Thanks for reading
PS Just in case you missed this >
It shows Piers Morgan being questioned on the 20th December 2011 by the current phone hacking lawyer David Sherborne all about my evidence and my witness testimony.