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

One afternoon, Manchester United played Sunderland. Alex Ferguson made a comment at the end of the game in his post-match interview and said, "Alan Wiley is not fit to referee this game. He's tired, he's unfit. It's almost like he's been out to a party."

A set of pictures gets sent into the People newspaper of Adam Wiley dressed as Buzz Lightyear. Great set of pictures. I think they phoned his wife and his wife almost verified it was true. At least she admitted that he'd been to a fancy dress party.

Those pictures were laid out on the front and back pages of the paper because it was a fantastic story. Somebody at the paper said, "I don't like this. Something's not right with these pictures. Something doesn't add up here." So I was sent to Adam Wiley's home town and a colleague of mine was sent up there, and we spent five days proving whether these pictures were actually taken the night before, speaking to fancy dress costume hire stops, speaking to parties venues. We found the party venue where the party was, and the guy told me: "Yeah, there was a party the night before the game, but if somebody had turned up as Buzz Lightyear, I'd have remembered it because it was a normal party."

So I rang the guy, who was trying to sell these pictures for a lot of money to the paper, and said to him: "Look, we're up here. Give us a hand here. We're trying to make this work for you. What is the story with this?" And he said to me: "Do you know what? I thought papers published stuff. They just published it. I didn't think it had to be true. I thought papers just made it up. I had no idea that you would come here and spend all this time."

He knew that we were there for five days, working on this story. He had no idea that we would work at proving that that story was absolute rubbish and I got him admitting on tape that those pictures were taken in the summer football break. There was no games on either side of that party, and that was nearly an innocent man going on the front page of one of Britain's biggest-selling Sunday newspapers.

So that's the effort that we go into to prove whether a story is true or false, and sometimes things have to be done to gather evidence, but most of the time they're in the favour of the people who supposedly -- their friends or people they know are ringing up to dob them in about a story.

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