Media Blog

Did Murdoch’s News of the World Hamper a Police Investigation in Britain?

The ongoing phone-hacking scandal at News of the World looks to get worse — as it looks like the paper, after hacking into a missing girl’s cellphone, then deleted voicemails. Who knows if the voicemails would have helped police solve the crime, but if this is true, it’s unconscionable:

The News of the World illegally targeted the missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler and her family in March 2002, interfering with police inquiries into her disappearance, an investigation by the Guardian has established.

Scotland Yard is investigating the episode, which is likely to put new pressure on the then editor of the paper, Rebekah Brooks, now Rupert Murdoch’s chief executive in the UK; and the then deputy editor, Andy Coulson, who resigned in January as the prime minister’s media adviser.

The Dowlers’ family lawyer, Mark Lewis, this afternoon issued a statement describing the News of the World’s activities as “heinous” and “despicable”. He said this afternoon the Dowler family was now pursuing a damages claim against the News of the World.

Milly Dowler disappeared at the age of 13 on her way home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on 21 March 2002.

Detectives from Scotland Yard’s new inquiry into the phone hacking, Operation Weeting, are believed to have found evidence of the targeting of the Dowlers in a collection of 11,000 pages of notes kept by Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator jailed for phone hacking on behalf of the News of the World.

In the last four weeks the Met officers have approached Surrey police and taken formal statements from some of those involved in the original inquiry, who were concerned about how News of the World journalists intercepted – and deleted – the voicemail messages of Milly Dowler.

The rest here.

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