News of the World story 'totally false'
posted on 12 January 2003
Cardinal to file formal complaint with Press Complaints Commission
The claim made in the News of the World today that Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor through an intermediary, Bishop Howard Tripp, offered Michael Hill, a prisoner in Belmarsh Prison, a £50,000 bribe to keep silent and disappear after he is eventually released from prison is totally false and without foundation whatsoever. This was made clear to the newspaper concerned prior to publication.
Prison visiting is an important part of the ministry of the Catholic Church in this country. Bishop Tripp has made pastoral visits to prisons in the Archdiocese of Southwark, including Belmarsh Prison, for over twenty years. No conversation as recorded in the News of the World has ever taken place between Bishop Tripp, in the carrying out of his pastoral duties, and Michael Hill.
The decision to print such a fabricated and defamatory story leaves the Cardinal and Bishop Tripp no alternative but to file a formal complaint with the Press Complaints Commission.