Graham Johnson (born 4 May 1968) is an author and investigative journalist who has written several books and contributed to a variety of publications. His works focus largely on organised crime. Johnson has also made multiple documentary films and appeared on television as a crime pundit.
Described in parliament as an "investigative reporter supreme", Johnson has written for publications including the News of the World, the Sunday Mirror, The Observer, Vice, The Guardian and the Liverpool Echo, and often publishes crime stories under different bylines. He was shortlisted for Reporter of the Year at the 2005 British Press Awards.
Johnson has appeared on Sky and BBC as a crime pundit and reporter. He has also made documentaries for Sky, Panorama and Germany's ARD. For Vice, Johnson has produced two documentaries, Fraud and The Debt Collector, which are informed by his own investigations. The Debt Collector was based on his books The Cartel and Young Blood.
Johnson worked at the Sunday Mirror from 1997 to 2005 and for six years was the newspaper's Investigations Editor. In 2014, he "blew the whistle" regarding phone hacking at the publication, describing his own involvement as "short and intense". Johnson, who was "shown by a senior person in a supervisory capacity how to access voicemails", was given "great credit" by District judge Quentin Purdy for his confession. His defence asserted that Johnson was unaware that such hacking was illegal, and that he "discontinued... because he did not feel it was right". Judge Brian Barker gave Johnson a suspended sentence but was convinced of his remorse, and noted that he had been "directed by others". Johnson also spoke of a culture of fear at News of the World, in which journalists would use various unscrupulous tactics at the behest of editor Rebekah Brooks.
Johnson has covered stories including drug dealing in Britain, people smuggling in Europe, child slavery in India and Pakistan, and war in the Balkans. To research his debut novel, Powder Wars (2004), Johnson spent several years on and off embedded with some of Britain's most notorious gangs. He also penned British gangster Stephen French's 2007 memoir, The Devil. Johnson's novels have been published by Mainstream Publishing and Simon & Schuster. He lives in London with former Sun columnist and anti-press campaigner Emma Jones.
Non-fiction (true crime)
- Powder Wars (2004)
- Druglord (2005)
- Football and Gangsters (2006)
- The Devil (2007)
- Darkness Descending (2009)
- Hack (2012)
- The Cartel (2012)
- Young Blood (2013)
- Soljas (2010)
- Gang War (2011)
- EastRush (2017)
- Cusick, James (15 October 2014). "Ex-Mirror journalist Graham Johnson charged with phone hacking". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- "British Press Awards - first shortlists". Press Gazette. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- O'Carroll, Lisa (18 December 2014). "Sunday Mirror journalist given suspended jail sentence after admitting phone hacking". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- Cusick, James (6 November 2014). "Former Sunday Mirror reporter Graham Johnson 'turned himself in' and admitted phone hacking". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- Martin, Adam (2 July 2012). "Fleet Street Hatchet Man". The Atlantic. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
- Siddle, John (5 July 2013). "The Devil struggled against demons, says author". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 15 July 2018.