Flitcroft hack claim at inquiry

Former Premiership footballer Garry Flitcroft arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry at The Royal Courts of Justice in London
Former Premiership footballer Garry Flitcroft arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry at The Royal Courts of Justice in London

Chorley FC manager Garry Flitcroft told a public inquiry how he tried to stop a tabloid paper publishing details of his adultery, and said that journalists may have hacked his phone.

Flitcroft took out an injunction in April 2001 to prevent the People running a “kiss and tell” story about a brief affair. This was overturned in early 2002.

Flitcroft told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards that he “strongly suspected” reporters hacked his phone to discover details of a

second woman with whom he had an affair. But he admitted he had no firm evidence that his voicemail messages were illegally intercepted.

He told the inquiry, which was set up following revelations people working for the now-defunct News of the World had hacked the phones of thousands of people: “That is just speculation. I have no evidence at all. It just seems a massive coincidence that the same newspaper gets two girls in the space of a couple of months.”

Flitcroft, who is now manager of the Magpies, said he had an “intimate relationship” with the first woman, whom he saw “three or four times”. He claimed that she contacted him threatening to go to the press if he did not give her £3,000 for a breast enlargement operation, which he refused.

The 39-year-old said the woman sent an envelope to his mother’s house containing copies of text messages he had sent her and details of precisely when they went to a hotel together.

Flitcroft said he showed the envelope to the solicitor of the Professional Footballers’ Association, and as a result took out the injunction against the People.

The inquiry heard that the People was edited at the time by Neil Wallis, who went on to become executive editor of the News of the World. .

Father-of-three Flitcroft, who is now separated from his wife and living with his girlfriend. said he was subsequently contacted by the second woman, who demanded £5,000 in return for not selling her story to the People.

He said he was surprised by this because the first woman lived in Chester and the second in Stockport, and they did not know each other. Carine Patry Hoskins, counsel to the inquiry, said both women denied blackmailing Flitcroft.