Ex The Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has rejected Anne Diamond’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry that Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers had a vendetta against her.
In her evidence given to the inquiry in November, the ex-breakfast TV presenter claimed Mr Murdoch’s editors targeted her after she asked the media tycoon how he slept at night knowing his newspapers ruined people’s lives.
The former TV-am presenter spoke of her distress when The Sun published a front-page picture of her and her husband carrying the coffin of their baby son Sebastian, a victim of cot death, at his funeral in 1991.
But Mr MacKenzie told the inquiry today: “I have had the advantage as distinct from Ms Diamond of working with Rupert Murdoch for 13 years closely.
“And I have never heard him say ‘Go after anybody’ under any circumstances, whether it is the prime minister, a failing breakfast show host, or anybody. He’s never said it.
“Why she should believe that her career has suffered because of one conversation is beyond me.”
He said the day after The Sun published the picture of the funeral of Ms Diamond’s son, two of the paper’s senior executives were invited to meet the presenter to discuss setting up a cot death charity, which went on to raise £250,000.
“If she felt as strongly as she appeared to feel at Leveson, you would have thought that 20 years earlier she would still be massively hostile to us, and she wasn’t,” he said.
Defending The Sun’s coverage of the funeral, he said at the time most people connected to cot deaths were considered by the public to be ‘murderers’.
“I would say that that picture and the five-, seven-year campaign against cot deaths created the climate in which a lot of people have had guilt removed from the top of their heads,” he said.