THE phones and medical records of singer Amy Winehouse were “routinely”accessed by tabloid newspapers.
Winehouse was found dead inside her north London apartment yesterday. She was 27.
Her short but electrifying musical career earned her a catalogue of worldwide awards, including five Grammies. That fame brought rewards, and vices.
Winehouse was a sensation. The sensation brought world attention. The attention made her a regular target of hacking and illegal data access by tabloid reporters keen to splash an exclusive.
Her father Mitch, mother Janis and on-off lover Blake Fielder-Civil, the man whose name she had tattooed over her heart, were also directly targeted in the tabloid battle to get a scoop. Her brother Alex was also a victim. His phones and personal data were also scanned to establish connections and potential stories.
Details of her stays in rehab were also obtained, and included timings of when she was expected to arrive at clinics so photographers could be in place. The same details were either sold or accessed so she could be photographed leaving after treatment. Her time inside these clinics was also widely reported.
A source said: “Privacy was the last thing she was going to get. She was at one point the world’s number one singer. She blew people away with her voice, all over the world. The press knew where she would be, who would be there, what time, at any given time.
“They were able to be there too, to befriend her and actively encourage her, as if they had arrived by chance. That made better copy and, more importantly, better photos for the snappers both inside and waiting outside.
“Not that she needed any encouragement, but it was there if she wanted it.
“Take a look at the acres of coverage of her getting out of taxicabs and walking into rehab. Or walking out of rehab into cabs. How did that happen? Or the details of her time in rehab, her private life. A lot of the time some people close to her sold the info, but her data was accessed on a routine, wholesale basis. And not just by one newspaper group, by most of them.
“A lot of showbiz journalists started covering tracks with the news of her death.”
Police, while confirming Amy’s body had been found in her North London flat, cautioned against newspaper assumptions of an overdose.