Murdoch Paper Hacked Murdered Girl's Voicemail

News Corp paper News of the World already admitted to illegally hacking the cell phones of 24 celebrities. But that's not all they did! The paper also hacked the phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler after she'd gone missing—even deleting messages in order to make more room.

Scotland Yard investigators believe that News of the World private investigators accessed the girl's voice mail soon after she went missing, intercepting messages being left by friends and family "imploring Milly to get in touch with them." This is bad enough. But it gets worse:

But the journalists at the News of the World then encountered a problem. Milly's voicemail box filled up and would accept no more messages. Apparently thirsty for more information from more voicemails, the News of the World intervened – and deleted the messages that had been left in the first few days after her disappearance. According to one source, this had a devastating effect: when her friends and family called again and discovered that her voicemail had been cleared, they concluded that this must have been done by Milly herself and, therefore, that she must still be alive. But she was not. The interference created false hope and extra agony for those who were misled by it.

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. Sally Dowler told the paper: "If Milly walked through the door, I don't think we'd be able to speak. We'd just weep tears of joy and give her a great big hug."

News International—the News Corp vehicle that owns News of the World—says it's cooperating fully with Operation Weeting, the Scotland Yard inquiry into the phone hacking scandal. Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator behind the News' phone hacking, was jailed earlier this year.

[Guardian]