Chelsy Davy ‘fury’ over Prince Harry’s strip club visit was a story ‘obtained by hacking,’ trial hears

7 June 2023, 13:21 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 15:16

Prince Harry is taking legal action over his phone hacking claims
Prince Harry is taking legal action over his phone hacking claims. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Prince Harry has claimed an article about a visit to a strip club that was reported to have left his then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy raging was obtained through phone hacking.

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An April 2006 article in the Sunday People in said Harry went to Spearmint Rhino near Slough, Berkshire, with friends.

The report said Ms Davy was furious about his "boozy evening at a lap dancing club" and berated him over the phone.

The Duke of Sussex said the risk of hacking a royal's phone was "worth the reward" for journalists on his second day of being cross examined in the phone hacking trial at the High Court.

Andrew Green, for The Mirror's publisher Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), asked Harry if he had any reason to believe payments recorded in relation to the story were related to unlawful information gathering.

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The duke replied: "They all are incredibly suspicious. Dean Rousewell is the one who wrote the article, he is not coming to this litigation and I believe he is still employed by Mirror Group."

Mr Green said the Daily Mail had also published an article about the club visit, which said one of the dancers resembled Ms Davy.

Prince Harry blamed phone hacking for a Chelsy Davy story
Prince Harry blamed phone hacking for a Chelsy Davy story. Picture: Alamy

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Harry said the article was "factually inaccurate".

Mr Green then suggested the article in the People did not have details that were not already in the Mail's piece.

Harry said: "I don't see any quotes from the Lithuanian lap dancer who sat on my lap, as in the [People] article."

He added this was a "classic example" of one outlet writing a story about him and then "Mirror Group or anyone else who was one step behind would be encouraged to then go and find out more".

Harry is taking on MGN in court
Harry is taking on MGN in court. Picture: Alamy

Mr Green asked about part of the People article which said he "screamed for half an hour" at him over the phone.

Asked where he thought that information came from, Harry told the court: "At this point, knowing that my girlfriend's number was bizarrely in the hands of Mirror journalists, that they probably looked through her call data and saw missed calls, late calls... and managed to put together a story based on that."

He added: "It was very suspicious that they had her number.

"As I said, I do not believe she would give Mirror Group or any journalists her phone number."

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Press reports said Chelsy Davy raged at Harry
Press reports said Chelsy Davy raged at Harry. Picture: Alamy

Mr Green told the High Court that records show a payment was made to a photo agency, a confidential source and a press agency over the story.

Asked about the payments, and if he accepted one was made to a freelance journalist, Harry said: "I'm not entirely sure what those payments are for, again most of the evidence has been destroyed."

He added: "One of these payments I accept was probably to someone who worked at the club, that's what I would do if I was a journalist."

He also told the court: "I believe one of those payments is probably to the bouncer or someone who worked at Spearmint Rhino."

Mr Green referenced a News of the World article published about the same time that reported how Prince William left him a voicemail imitating Ms Davy's voice, which helped lead to the arrest of that paper's journalist Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Both were later convicted of phone hacking.

Mr Green said MGN journalists were not arrested at the time of the investigation and reporters would have been taking an "enormous risk" hacking his phone or devices of those around him.

"I think there was a risk right from the beginning," Harry said.

"I believe the risk is worth the reward for them."

The duke has previously claimed press intrusion led to his split with Ms Davy, who decided "a royal life was not for her".

MGN denies using unlawful means to get information on Harry.