Monday, 4 July 2011


The saga of the phone-hacking by the News of the World took a shocking new twist today as the Guardian reported:

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 this afternoon issued a statement in which he described the News of the World's activities as "heinous" and "despicable". He told the BBC this afternoon the Dowler family was now pursuing a damages claim against the News of the World.

And if that wasn't enough:

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 messages were deleted by journalists in the first few days after Milly's disappearance in order to free up space for more messages. As a result friends and relatives of Milly concluded wrongly that she might still be alive. Police feared evidence may have been destroyed...

The Dowler family then granted an exclusive interview to the News of the World in which they talked about their hope, quite unaware that it had been falsely kindled by the newspaper's own intervention.

The Dowler's lawyer, Mark Lewis, said:

"It is distress heaped upon tragedy to learn that the News of the World had no humanity at such a terrible time. The fact that they were prepared to act in such a heinous way that could have jeopardised the police investigation and give them false hope is despicable."

As Brian Cathcart notes:

If anyone still believed that the phone hacking scandal was “just” about celebrities, the allegation that the News of the World hacked Milly Dowler’s voicemails must lay the idea to rest.

No matter how ordinary and vulnerable you were, no matter how tragic your circumstances — in this case it was a missing, murdered Surrey schoolgirl — on this evidence you were a potential target for the Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday tabloid.

UPDATE: This development is the lead story on the front page of Tuesday's Guardian, Independent and Telegraph. It also makes the front page of the FT and the Times. The Express, Mail, Mirror, Sun and Star make no mention of it on their front pages and consider others stories - such as Cheryl Cole's love life and a scare story about ibuprofen - more important.

UPDATE 2: It appears that some later editions of the Daily Mail did include the story on the front page, but not as the lead. The article was on page 5.


  1. I can find no new words that can truly say what I think of NOTW & it's ilk. Because let's not kid ourselves, all the tabloids are all at it. Corrupt, hypocritical & venal liars.

  2. I had a quick look at the Guardian website before leaving work, and this was on the front page. This is a genuine, chin-on-floor moment; utter, utter filth.

    I hope they get all that is (with any luck) coming to them.

  3. Am I dreaming? This cannot be true! If this isn't front page news on every cover tomorrow we are all fucked.

  4. hannanibal: No, you're not. Yes it can. It isn't and we are...

  5. No way the tabloids will run this... they know it's the end of their ability to run any old shit with no consequences.

  6. The phone hacking stories are an indication of which papers are guilty. Is the story on their front page? Then they (probably) don't do it.

    Unless of course the Express, Mirror, Mail, Sun and Star just all suddenly decided that a story involving a murdered white girl is not newsworthy...

  7. My God. The people at The New of the World must be depraved perverts.

  8. I thought that after following Tabloid Watch, Enemies of Reason, 5cc et al for so long, the behaviour of the tabloids no longer had the ability to shock me. Boy, was I wrong.

  9. This all took place when David Cameron's new best friend Rebecca Brooks was editor of the paper. Interesting!

  10. My very scary wife told me that Brooks is the only person she has ever been freaked out by. To suggest she did not know every detail is pure BS. But then this story is gob smacking from start to finish. Brooks tells a parliamentary committee she paid (i.e. corrupted) serving police, then denies in, refuses to attend another hearing, and is then placed in charge of the "clean up" and investigation into wrong doing. Revelations keep coming and still she has not been interviewed under caution.

    Years after the police knew that this was going on they are finally starting to look properly and yet so many of those involved have had time to dispose of evidence. Why have NI not been asked to supply a list of all their investigators whose homes should all have been searched? Why did NI not have their offices raided rather than asking for information that might be useful? Why have the police not asked for a list of officers who received cash from NI? The questions just keep coming and despite NI and their fig leaf of dealing with this, the issue stinks or corruption, criminal wrong doing and a systemic failure.

    Mulcaire must face new criminal charges, senior executives must be arrested and should face charges, all other investigators employed by NotW must be investigated, the police must be investigated and the PCC thrown on the scrap heap and replaced with a proper independent body that can sanction major fines and punishments and should be statutory for all print media.

  11. From the BBC website:

    "she insists that she was not involved in that instance of alleged phone hacking, or others, and knew nothing about it. (...) "She is committed to find out the truth of what happened here and leading the company through this difficult time" said one of her colleagues."

    Of course it is. Yet let us also remember that the NotW actually quoted messages left on Milly Dowlers phone. Information that could only have been obtained by the NotW listening in and you have to be one idiotic editor to not ask how that information was obtained. And it was not a one-off they ran whose insistence Ms. Brook? The truth would be really really nice. Mind you amazing that the police didn't investigate that glaring admission at the time....

  12. The heart must be ripped out of this evil empire. No Guilt, no honour, no humanity, no responsibility. Brook should be the first to go and it should not end with her.

  13. Brooks has issued an email of denial which strikes me as being one of "protesting far too much". She appears very busy saying "not me guv." whilst issues surrounding her involvement if not suggesting otherwise, make for a rather peculiar and contradictory role in the whole affair. She has great form in pedantry and sophistry when it comes to the crunch and this looks like an email dealing in sophistry and with lots of asides - a little akin to shouting "hey look over there". So in the midst of this great "not me" email there's a sudden boast about Sarah's Law and campaigning against pedophiles and asking solicitors to supply evidence (another curious sleight of hand of deniability - "we can't investigate we don't know what we're looking for").

    And above all this mess, the person investigating themselves is the person who was in charge, the person who denies any knowledge. Jeez....

  14. Someone needs to go to prison for this.

  15. Rebekah Brooks wrote:

    "I have to tell you that I am sickened that these events are alleged to have happened."

    Translation: "The fact that we've been exposed as vile, predatory abusers makes me want to blow chunks."

  16. If these allegations come to be exposed as truth by a court, then they are amongst the most sickening acts I have ever heard a newspaper of committing.

    I await the outcome.

  17. Murdoch said:

    "Recent allegations of phone hacking and making payments to police with respect to the News of the World are deplorable and unacceptable."

    Translation: I don't like these allegations. I wish they had never been made, even though they are true.

    Murdoch said:

    "I have made clear that our company must fully and proactively cooperate with the police in all investigations and that is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks' leadership."

    Translation: I will release information implicating the police, in the hope that this will draw some of the fire directed at News International. But if anyone sees through the ruse, it was Rebekah Brooks' idea, not mine.

    Murdoch said:

    "We are committed to addressing these issues fully and have taken a number of important steps to prevent them from happening again."

    Translation: We are trying to throw up a smokescreen, and here's Andy Coulson's head on a plate, but if that doesn't work, Rebekah is next on our list.

    Rupert Murdoch's empire is now under investigation by the police. [2] But at the same time, he’s getting ready to take even more control of our media. This week, Murdoch’s expecting to get the green light from David Cameron’s government for his takeover of BSkyB. [3]

    If we work together, we can make sure this week doesn't end with Murdoch getting awarded even more power. Let's stand together for higher media standards and against Murdoch's latest power grab.

    Help break Murdoch's grip, sign the petition now:

  18. I feel the sudden urge to buy up all the copies in my local newsagents this Sunday, only to burn them on the pavement outside.

  19. Despicable, horrible cunts. I hope your government has the balls to stand up to Murdochs evil empire but it seems they're in bed together.

    This is a chance for the people of Britain to stand up against the utter shite media standards.


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