Paul McMullan (journalist)

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Paul McMullan (born 1963) is a British former tabloid journalist.

Journalism career[edit]

McMullan started his newspaper career at the Sunday Sport where his laid back approach together with a scruffy look earned him the nickname 'Mucky McMullan'.[1] He went on to work as a features journalist at the now-defunct News of the World between 1994 and 2001, briefly becoming deputy features editor in 2000.

In 2011, McMullan admitted to regrets over a series of articles he had written in the 1990s about Jennifer Elliott, the daughter of the late actor Denholm Elliott. McMullan had obtained information from the police that she had been living on the streets and working as a prostitute. She committed suicide in 2003.[2]

In July 2011, actor Steve Coogan described him as "morally bankrupt" after appearing with him on BBC Newsnight. Hugh Grant attempted to secretly tape him making claims about phone hacking in a visit to McMullan's pub, The Castle Inn in Dover. McMullan asked Grant during the conversation "Are you taping me? If you are good luck to you I don't really care anyway". He was one of only a few journalists to claim on the record that phone hacking was rife at the newspaper. In November 2011 he made a notable contribution to the Leveson Inquiry where he not only confessed to a wide range of illegal activities in the pursuit of news but defended them as absolutely necessary. In his testimony he presented a robust opposition to the concept of privacy, despite his own personal paranoia toward his own personal privacy being compromised. This paranoia extending to his long-standing disguising of his personal whereabouts and circumstances, primarily by registering himself (for various purposes) at his parents' home address.[3] McMullan notably told the enquiry that "Privacy is for paedos".

McMullan testified to having undertaken a wide range of illegal or unethical activities to get stories besides phone hacking: bribing police officers, stealing documents, going through celebrities' rubbish bins, and at one point posing as a "teenage rent boy" to entrap a paedophile priest. "[I]t was hard to think of any dubious news-gathering technique he had not confessed to," wrote New York Times reporter Sarah Lyall, "short of pistol-whipping sources for information." He defended those techniques as "perfectly acceptable ... if all we're trying to do is get at the truth."[4]

"[Do] we really want to live in a world where the only people who can do the hacking are MI5 and MI6?" he asked. "For a brief period of about 20 years, we have actually lived in a free society where we can hack back".[4] He scoffed at the very notion of privacy, calling it "the space bad people need to do bad things in."[3] Lyall commented, "At times he sounded like a satirist's rendition of an amoral tabloid hack"."[4]

More recently, McMullan has been a freelance journalist.[5] He often works in Kent with KOS Media titles, including the Kent on Sunday paper.

Pub owner and politician[edit]

McMullan owns several properties in Kent, giving his address as the Castle Inn, Dover, when appearing at the Leveson inquiry. In January 2011, McMullan became the landlord of The Bull public house in the village of Eastry for Punch Taverns. McMullan employed a bar manager to run the pub. After residents' complaints about noise from the pub he handed in his resignation as leaseholder. The bar manager took over and the pub was under investigation by Dover District Council and Kent Police.[6] before it closed completely.

McMullan owns and runs The Castle Inn, a public house near the Port of Dover, Kent[7] In August 2011, he tried to apply for a licence for topless barmaids in the pub. This was later refused.[8]

As part of The Castle Inn, McMullan opened a low budget hostel called Dover Backpackers, providing accommodation in dormitory style rooms to travellers.[9][10]

He stood as an independent in the 2013 Kent County Council elections for the Dover Town Ward. He originally wanted to stand as a UKIP candidate but was not supported by the UKIP Party.[11] He came third behind the Conservatives and Labour.[12]

Personal life[edit]

McMullan is the father of four children, the first two from his marriage to former News of The World temp journalist Maria McMullan - they are now divorced - the two younger children are from a more recent relationship with a Kent local newspaper editor.[13] McMullan is often filmed and interviewed at his pub by TV companies from all over the world including Turkey, India, Europe and Australia about phone hacking and journalism.

He has written a book about the News of the World phone hacking and other practices at the paper.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Graham. Hack: Sex, Drugs, and Scandal from Inside the Tabloid Jungle, p. 25 (Simon and Schuster, 2012).
  2. ^ "Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks 'knew about phone hacking at NoW'". The Guardian. 29 Nov 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b BBC News: Leveson Inquiry: Editors 'knew phones were hacked' 29 November 2011 (Retrieved 29 Nov 2011)
  4. ^ a b c Lyall, Sarah (30 November 2011). "British Inquiry Is Told Hacking Is Worthy Tool". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Evans, Martin (29 Nov 2011). "Paul McMullan: Andy Coulson 'brought hacking culture to News of the World'". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Paul Skelton (September 2011). "Bull". Dover Kent Archives.com. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  7. ^ yeah-cameron-murdoch Grant, Hugh (2011) The bugger, bugged, The New Statesman, 12 April (Retrieved 29 Nov 2011)
  8. ^ Medggett, Phil (25 August 2011). [http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Plan-topless- barmaids-Dover-pub-draws-stiff/story-13199145-detail/story.html "Plan for 'topless' barmaids at Dover pub draws stiff response"]. ThisisKent. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Dover Backpackers Reviews". www.tripadvisor.co.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Hostel boss hits out at roadworks outside his Dover business". www.thisiskent.co.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Ex-News of the World journalist Paul McMullan stands as independent candidate in Dover". www.kentonline.co.uk (UK). 24 April 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Jamie, Rose (3 May 2013). "Paul McMullan performs well as Conservatives hold on to Dover North". www.kentonline.co.uk (UK). Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Barry Smith and Paul Skelton (16 September 2010). "Castle Inn". Dover Kent Archives.com. Retrieved 5 March 2012.