In new evidence made public on Monday, the British police have said that journalists from the now defunct News of the World tabloid not only hacked into the phone of the murdered school girl Milly Dowler but also interfered with their investigation
The report by the Surrey Police investigating the Dowler case comes on the day when media baron Rupert Murdoch tweeted: “No excuses for phone hacking. No argument. No excuses either for copyright stealing, but plenty of ignorant argument!”
In a letter to the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, Jerry Kirby, deputy constable of the Surrey Police detailed a series of interactions with journalists of the News of the World that showed that they had hacked into Dowler’s phone.
The letter was released by the committee on Monday.
Dowler, 13, was abducted in March 2002 and murdered. Her body was found in September 2002.
The Surrey police contradicted the suggestion that they could have been the source of the Dowler voice mails which were published in the News of the World at the time.
It was the revelation last summer by The Guardian that her phone had been hacked by the News of the World that set off a chain of events and inquiries that continue to impact on British press, politics and the police.
Last week, Mr. Murdoch’s company apologised and paid large sums for out-of-court settlements to several individuals whose phones had been hacked.
More such settlements running into millions of pounds are likely since there are 742 such victims, according to the Scotland Yard.
Mr. Kirby’s letter sets out a timeline based on police logs from 2002, which depicts a news organisation that tried to bully detectives into backing its theories about the crime.
The Surrey police, it said, did not provide information to the tabloid, but and added that the tabloid’s journalists had obtained information by accessing Dowler’s phone.
The journalists, Mr. Kirby stated, had informed the police that they had obtained the PIN number to access Dowler’s voice mail from her school friends.
The chair of the culture, media and sport select committee, John Whittingdale, said “several News of the World reporters appeared to have hacked Milly Dowler’s phone”.