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Leveson Inquiry: Charlotte Church Turned Down £100,000 For 'Favourable' Press

28/11/2011 15:22 | Updated 28 January 2012

Charlotte Church sang at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding for free in exchange for favourable publicity, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.

The 'Voice of an Angel' singer, who was 13 at the time, could charge up to £100,000 per performance, but waived the usual fee when told she "would be looked upon favourably by Murdoch's papers".

"I remember being told that Rupert Murdoch had asked me to sing at his wedding to Wendi Deng and it would take place on his yacht in New York," she said.

"I remember being told that the offer of money or the offer of the favour, in order to basically get good press, to be looked upon favourably. And I also remember being 13 and thinking, 'why on earth would anybody take a favour over £100,000?'."

Murdoch and News International deny that any such offer was made.

During an uncomfortable session of questioning, Church, now 25, told how earlier this year police had informed her that her phone had been hacked and monitored by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire when she was 17.

“They had passwords, pin numbers, phone numbers of lots of people in my life, my mother, my father, their friends, my friends, my old boyfriend's number, it was quite substantial,” she told Leveson, referring to it as a “massive black book, which seemed to be full of information”.

The inquiry also heard of how an article in the News of the World detailed allegations that her father was having an affair. "I see no public interest in this story except to sell papers," she said, adding that it had a huge effect on her mother and a "massive psychological impact on me".

“I think I've just blanked out how bad these articles were," Church said.

"It was totally sensationalised, whether partially or wholly true. And I just really hated the fact that my parents who had never been in this industry – apart from looking after me – were being exposed and vilified in this fashion. It had a massive, massive impact on my family life.”

The singer also told of how The Sun ran a story during the early months of her first pregnancy, entitled “Church sober shock".

She said she believed the newspaper had found out about her pregnancy from phone hacking.

Church also told of how photographers cut a hole in the hedge outside her home, through which members of the press could fit a camera, as well as a 'countdown clock' that appeared on The Sun's website, running down to the singer's 16th birthday with the innuendo of her reaching the age of (sexual) consent.

"It made me feel horrible... I was really uncomfortable with it," she said.

28/11/2011 16:18 GMT

Leveson Inquiry closes

The Inquiry will resume on Tuesday at 10am.

28/11/2011 16:17 GMT

Leveson and Guido Fawkes issue

Leveson made an order demanding Alastair Campbell's witness statement be removed. The owner of the website, Paul Staines, has been summoned to appear before Leveson on Wednesday to explain how he acquired the document.

28/11/2011 16:11 GMT

Anne Diamond finishes giving evidence to Leveson Inquiry

Leveson turns his attention to the Guido Fawkes issue for this morning and decides he must give a ruling about the problem.

28/11/2011 16:06 GMT

No fear of regulation

@ jamesro47 :

Broadcast experience shows proprietors need not fear regulation, Diamond says. Fair point #leveson

28/11/2011 16:05 GMT

Bad press ruining the industry

Diamond tells Leveson directly: "It doesn't have to be like this. It's so sad that a handful of journalists have besmirched the press in this way."

28/11/2011 16:01 GMT

Diamond's relationship with Sun newspaper today

Diamond praises collaboration with The Sun over cot death and relationship with tabloid media in general: "We were a force for good... the popular press is nothing to be ashamed of in this country. It can be a force for good."

"There are two sides to the press. I've no doubt they would pursue me now in the same way as in the past."

28/11/2011 15:55 GMT

Leveson questions diamond about Dawn French article

Diamond wrote a 'supportive' article, congratulating the actress Dawn French about her weight loss. Leveson asks how she makes the judgement about what and who to write about after such press intrusuion into her private life. Diamond's reply is that it does come down to 'a judgement call' , personal values as well as 'taste and decency'.

28/11/2011 15:47 GMT

Broadcast code of conduct don't stifle journalism

Diamond says that the broadcast media have to conform to strict guidelines regarding code of conduct without journalism beein negatively affected. She sees no reason why there shouldn't be a similar code for other media.

28/11/2011 15:42 GMT

Spoiler stories after Diamond funeral

@ SkyFixer69 :

Other papers then ran spoiler stories that we'd done a deal with the Sun allowing the access to the funeral. #Diamond #Leveson

28/11/2011 15:41 GMT

Strong feelings emerging from Leveson today

http://twitter.com/#!/bargeboards/status/141179639916793857

Leveson Inquiry Witness List
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