The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

She wasn't doing the second bit, but yes: although I -- yeah, anyway. No, I mean it's one of a couple of stories that I regret. I remember interviewing, also, Lena Zavaroni after she was caught stealing a 50p bag of sweets and then I interviewed her again and then she killed herself, I think, as well, and Jennifer Elliott went on to overdose after an article that absolutely humiliated her and it was unnecessary and I really regret it because I got to know her fairly well and I quite liked her and she was in a very vulnerable position. Her father had just died of AIDS and she had taken two -- she was on a methadone script, which I knew about, and she also -- there were heroin needles in her bin -- God knows how I knew that -- and also there were notes with the phone numbers of her drug dealers in her bin.

So I knew exactly where she was at, and the fact that she was begging outside Chalk Farm station came to our crime reporter from a police officer, who was surprised, when he told her to move on, who he had told to move on, because in fact Denholm Elliott had been in Trading Places and had been had millionaire and, indeed, his daughter lived in a really nice flat in Camden, but she actually didn't have any money to get a £10 bag or whatever it was she needed, and, yeah, I went too far on that story. She was someone crying out for help, not crying out to meet a News of the World reporter, and I -- yeah, and I said, "Well, here's a couple of quid begging, and if I gave you 50, would you come back to my place and would you have sex for £50?" You know, tape recorder's running, photographer's hiding in a bush. And she went, "Oh, yeah, all right."

And so was she a prostitute? It gets worse, but I don't need to go into the really sordid details of it because it's not something children should be listening to, but no. I then took her back to her flat and took a load of pictures of her topless, it turns out, and then I think -- she was a bit obviously in the grips of an addiction, and when she went on GMTV after, on the Monday morning, she said -- she described me as her boyfriend, so I had befriended her -- I mean I'd never gone anywhere near her in a sexual way, but I did actually really want to help her, but I was driven primarily to write the best story I could. The best story I could was: here is the golden girl on the red carpet as her dad goes to pick up a Golden Globe and he used to take his daughter with him -- and she was really pretty, and here she is with dreadlocks and covered in dirt begging at a tube station offering passers-by sex for -- in return for money.

Also, a police officer had come across her and possibly should have helped her as well instead of ringing up the News of the World and getting paid for that. And then, when -- she did briefly beat drugs, but then when I heard a few years later that she'd killed herself, I did think, yeah, that was one that I really regret. But there's not many.

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