Would you mind, sir, if I just spent a couple of minutes just building the picture on this? Because I think it's important that people understand how this came about. I will be brief.
Once I'd retired, I didn't do an awful lot, just tried to sort of make the transition into retirement, and so effectively on paper I wasn't entering the Yard from December 2007, and it was towards the beginning of the summer I was approached not by a News International outlet, but by someone else, another paper, and also TV outlets who were interested to sign me up, as it were. In hindsight I think probably because there were a lot of activities going on with trials around terrorism and they would want someone to perhaps offer an opinion on it.
This was something that I'd never really thought would happen, and I therefore went to an agent to get some advice and help, and I let the agent deal with all the negotiations.
The point that I now find out is that News International, the Times, and I think this has been put in statement, is -- got wind of the other person's interest and then that's how we ended up having two outlets, as it were, wanting to sign me to write.
Now, I did give this long thought, and I thought what is the difference here -- set phone hacking aside just for one minute, if we may. What is the difference here between a retired police officer, of which there are others who have written, doing commentary and hopefully working alongside a journalist who can do a factual journalistic reporting, but a police commentator can give more of an insight to the reader, and working hand in glove, that could actually produce some good reportable material, which would also enhance this profile and contact with the police as well.
I made the comparisons in my mind, albeit they're not directly comparable, between sportsmen who retire, maybe politicians and maybe financiers, and I honestly did not make the connection that I was embarking, if I made that choice rather than that choice, into a stable that was part of the News of the World. I just didn't make that connection. I didn't know the people, didn't know the editor, the deputy editor. I was formally interviewed. Never met them before. Throughout the whole relationship, never any hint of trying to exploit what may be my contacts, what may be a relationship there. My experience was it was completely above board.
However, going to the point of your question, if I had my time again and I was able to make that link, presentationally that is difficult and it's difficult to people to probably in a way believe that account, but that is the account as it happened and there are many people who were involved in those negotiations that I think can corroborate what I've said.