The Independent London Newspaper
24th May 2017

FORUM: Rupert Murdoch, he was a real card!

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    I­AN Cutler made his living as a wedding photographer after leaving Holloway School aged 15 in 1959.

    He got his big break at the News of the World after editors noticed his eye for a story.

    He had risked life and limb scaling the front of a house to get an aerial shot of squatters who had taken over the luxury mansion in Parliament Hill.

    It kick-started a lucrative 20-year career at the red-top tabloid shut down by News International bosses earlier this month.

    Mr Cutler, who was born in an estate in Caledonian Road in 1944 and now lives in Kentish Town, was known affectionately by his colleagues on the NotW as the Camera Assassin.

    He was the tabloid’s chief photographer and “all-round man” in the 1970s and 1980s before his profitable career was cut short by a stroke.

    But in a self-published pocket book, Camera Assassin II, Mr Cutler makes a series of allegations about how he faked photo-led exclusives and the seedy depths his “firm” would sink to on the “Street of Shame”.

    “We were worse than the people we were exposing,” he said. 

    The book reveals stories that are stranger than the fiction Mr Cutler says was routinely published in the paper he worked for.

    He said: “The general public would not believe how many news stories are fake. I wanted to get this off my chest before I die. I wanted to say I’m not involved in any of this at the moment.”

    Mr Cutler’s home is piled high with newspaper clippings of his favourite stories, including one about how gallons of water were wasted by massive sprinklers at Hampstead Golf Club during a hose-pipe ban. 

    Another is about a bomb explosion at Biddy Mulligan’s pub in Kilburn High Road, a tip-off he said he got while he was serving a five-year prison sentence following an incident with a waiter in a Chinese restaurant.

    He said: “For 20 years, I got paid seven days a week. 

    “When I brought a story in, they used to give me £2,000 extra – as a bonus. That was a lot of money in those days. I was an all-round man.”

    In his book, Mr Cutler claims he paid mates, colleagues, and even tourists, to pose for photos. He said he would often disguise people – including himself – with fake moustaches and hats and pretend the images were of drug-dealers or rent-boys.

    Tales of sex, sleaze and sodomy feature in Mr Cutler’s account.

    A stroke ended his career as photographer in the late 1980s when he left with a “golden handshake” from the NotW. He used money to buy a pub that he called Captain Cutler’s in Stanhope Street, Fitzrovia.

    He said the pub – a familiar haunt for Fleet Street journalists – was torched by gangsters in 2000, leaving Mr Cutler out of pocket. His stroke has left him struggling to walk and he drives around in a souped-up mobility scooter. He likes to holiday in Spain and sit by the pool sipping the occasional vodka and tonic.

    Naturally gripped by the hacking revelations of the last fortnight, Mr Cutler believes the entire Murdoch empire will come crashing down for good if it is proved that victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks had their phones hacked.

    He said: “This hacking stuff could be the end of Rupert Murdoch – but only if America gets hold of it. 

    “It looks like they are now. If it’s true about the hacking of the Twin Towers victims then those guys’ families will sue and sue. That will be the end of him.”

    Mr Murdoch, appearing before a select committee on Tuesday, said the FBI had so far “seen no evidence of 9/11 victim hacking”. News Corp chief James Murdoch added: “I am aware of no evidence of it.”

    Mr Cutler said he had not picked up a tabloid for years and that he now only read the Guardian for national news because its journalists were “out for justice”.

    Any regrets? “Nah,” he said. “I liked working for Rupert. He was a real card. But journalists are acquaintances, aren’t they? I've sent the book to Rupert but I’ve heard nothing from him.”

    A spokesman for News International declined to comment.

    Published: 21 July, 2011
    by TOM FOOT

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