Prince Harry: Private investigator's conflicting statements at centre of court case

Gavin Burrows gave differing accounts of his relationship with the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 28, 2023 in London, England. Getty Images
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Evidence at the centre of breach of privacy claims against the publisher of the Daily Mail is centred on an alleged confession and denial by a private investigator over his role in unlawful information gathering.

Two differing witness statements from Gavin Burrows have been released amid a bid by Associated Newspapers to have legal action against it thrown out by a High Court judge.

Addressing claims brought by the Duke of Sussex, Sir Elton John and others, the publisher said it rejected “in their entirety” that they were victims of unlawful or illegal information gathering carried out on its behalf.

In one statement, signed in August 2021, Mr Burrows claimed to have targeted “hundreds, possibly thousands of people” through voicemail hacking, landline tapping and accessing financial and medical information for a journalist at the Mail on Sunday.

He claimed that Prince Harry, Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish, and actor Hugh Grant and actresses Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost “were just a small handful of my targets”.

But in a later statement signed in March this year, Mr Burrows said he wished “to make clear that I was never instructed or commissioned by [a journalist] or anyone at the Mail on Sunday or the Daily Mail to conduct unlawful information gathering on their behalf”.

In the more recent statement he said he was not commissioned to unlawfully gather information on Prince Harry, Sir Elton, Mr Furnish, Frost or Hurley.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex through the years - in pictures

Mr Burrows also said allegations that he was asked to target Grant, Carole Middleton — the mother of the Princess of Wales — former London mayor Ken Livingstone and Labour peer Lord Mandelson were “false”.

In his August 2021 statement, Mr Burrows said he and his team had previously carried out “some pretty big blags and hacks” but that he had since “legitimised my work”.

He claimed to have “bugged” the cars of Grant and Mrs Middleton, “hacked, tapped, and bugged” Hurley “a huge number of times” and “hardwire tapped” Sir Elton and Mr Furnish’s house.

Mr Burrows said Prince Harry was “another big target”, with a strategy to hack the voicemails of his friends.

He said he wanted “to say sorry to everyone I targeted and for them to know I never meant any harm”.

Updated: March 29, 2023, 6:57 PM

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