BREAKING NEWS
Two killed, at least 15 injured in shooting at Florida nightclub hosting teen party ... Read more
Close

Beckham affair expose defended by journalist

Last updated 10:21 13/12/2011
David and Victoria Beckham
Getty Images
YOUNG LOVE: David and Victoria Beckham have been Britain's most high profile celebrity couple for more than a decade.

Relevant offers

Football

Wellington Phoenix manager Ernie Merrick calls for A-League to scrap salary cap Dan Carter scores for Arsenal English FA appoint Sam Allardyce as new football manager Hull City manager Steve Bruce resigns ahead of Premier League season - BBC Former Porto boss Julen Lopetegui replaces Vicente del Bosque as Spain coach Football Ferns aim to shock star-studded opponents at Olympics Tasman United prepare for life without young Solomon Islands star Atkin Kaua A decade's work behind them, these seven Football Ferns are out to make a statement New Zealand Football keeps faith in Fifa amid Russian doping crisis Football Ferns captain Abby Erceg is ready for a tough Olympics

The former chief reporter on Britain's News of the World tabloid has defended a story alleging David Beckham had an affair because the footballer and his wife had projected a fairy-tale marriage to the public in order to sell products.

Neville Thurlbeck said the rise of privacy lawsuits in Britain over the past three years had all but killed the kiss-and-tell tales that used to be a staple of tabloid front pages.

Thurlbeck said there had been a public interest in the story about the star's alleged affair with his personal assistant Rebecca Loos in 2004 while promoting a picture of a stable marriage to singer and fashion designer Victoria.

Beckham at the time denied the allegation.

"What we saw happening outside of the marriage was in direct contrast to the image they were cultivating," Thurlbeck told Britain's Leveson Inquiry, which was set up to investigate press standards in response to a phone-hacking scandal at the tabloid.

"We said they were making millions of pounds on the back of that wholesome image and we thought it very important at the time to expose that," he said.

Thurlbeck said the News of the World, shut down by Murdoch as the phone-hacking scandal escalated in July, had paid a six-figure sum to Loos.

"It was the most, I think, I've ever paid for a story," he said.

"Privacy has become a huge matter over the last three years. I would say the kiss-and-tell story is largely dead as a genre."

Thurlbeck is thought to be the intended recipient of a key piece of evidence in the phone-hacking probe, the so-called "For Neville" email containing transcripts of hacked conversations that appear to show hacking went beyond a lone "rogue reporter".

The email is at the centre of allegations that News Corp executive James Murdoch knew earlier than he has claimed that the illegal practice was more widespread, as other senior former managers claim to have made him aware of it in 2008.

Thurlbeck, who was arrested in April in connection with the phone-hacking affair, did not answer specific questions on Monday that might prejudice his criminal case.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Burnley retain their EPL status?

Yes, they've found a winning formula

Maybe, but there’s a long way to go

No. They lack quality in certain areas

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content