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NotW 'targeted' phone of Sarah Payne's mum

Bent PI had number of Brooks-given blower, says report

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The mother of murdered eight-year-old girl Sarah Payne reportedly had her mobile phone targeted by the News of the World's private investigator Glen Mulcaire.

Ex-News International boss Rebekah Brooks, who edited the Sunday tabloid between 2000 and 2003, has repeatedly championed Sarah's Law, a scheme that allows parents to check if someone with regular access to their children has a history of child sex offences.

Since illegal voicemail interception allegations against the News Corp-owned company re-appeared to eventually engulf the NotW, which was shuttered earlier this month, Brooks has repeatedly stood by the paper's campaign on Sarah's Law and counts it as a personal achievement during her editorship at the tabloid.

According to the Guardian, police officers working on Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting investigation uncovered Mulcaire's notes containing personal details about Sara Payne, bereaved mother of Sarah Payne, the girl who was abducted and later killed in 2000.

It's understood Payne learned of the discovery on Tuesday. Friends of hers told the Guardian that she was "absolutely devastated and deeply disappointed" by the revelation.

Payne originally thought her phone had not been hacked by anyone working at the now-defunct tabloid and wrote a farewell column for the final edition of the NotW, thanking the staff there for their support.

A phone said to have been given to Payne by Brooks as a gift to help her stay in touch with supporters of Sarah's Law is understood to be the one targeted by Mulcaire.

Labour MP Tom Watson, who recently grilled Murdoch, his son James and Brooks at a select committee hearing into the phone-hacking scandal, described the latest disclosure as "a new low."

The discovery by police investigating illegal voicemail allegations at the NotW follows shocking revelations about murder victim Milly Dowler, whose phone was allegedly hacked and messages deleted while police were still searching for the teenager. The erasure of the messages gave Milly's family false hope that she might still be alive. ®

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