NotW didn't delete Milly Dowler 'false hope' voicemail
Messages removed automatically, say cops
New evidence has emerged that shows that the News of the World was not responsible for deleting voicemail messages on murder victim Milly Dowler's phone, a move that gave her family false hope that the schoolgirl might still be alive.
Scotland Yard officers working on Operation Weeting discovered phone logs that showed that the now-defunct Sunday tabloid was not to blame for hacking the teenager's mobile phone in the first few days after she disappeared in 2002.
The Guardian had previously reported shocking revelations that suggested that individuals working for the NotW had obstructed the police inquiry into Dowler's whereabouts by deleting messages on the schoolgirl's phone.
But new evidence, reported in the Guardian and News International-owned Sunday Times [paywall], suggest that a private investigator had been instructed to hack into the teenager's phone a few days after her mother had thought Milly was accessing her voicemails.
Detectives working on Operation Weeting told the Dowler family in April this year that journalists at the Sunday tabloid had deleted messages on Milly's phone. They have since uncovered evidence that showed the girl's phone would automatically delete voicemails 72 hours after being listened to.
Some of those messages were deleted prior to anyone working for the NotW gaining access to Milly's voicemails, Scotland Yard reportedly said.
The Milly Dowler scandal sparked outrage against Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire in the UK. It led to News International sensationally shuttering the 168-year-old NotW, in a move to distance the company from what had become a "toxic" brand.
The fallout continued throughout the summer, with Rebekah Brooks - a one-time editor of the NotW - eventually resigning from her job as NI boss. The ex-chief reporter at the newspaper, Neville Thurlbeck, will give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry later today.
Murdoch's News Corp, the parent company of News International, agreed to pay £2m to the Dowler family in October this year.
The media mogul said at the time: "The behaviour that the News of the World exhibited towards the Dowlers was abhorrent and I hope this donation underscores my regret for the company's role in this awful event." ®
NotW falls victim to fictional accusations before the full facts come out! Who woulda thunk it?
Oh yes they did.
"the girl's phone would automatically delete voicemails 72 hours after being listened to."
So by listening to them, somebody was responsible for them being deleted. It certainly was not Milly. If it wasn't the media, maybe it was the police.
Doesn't really matter
The nub of the matter, irrespective of NoTWs deliberate deleting of voicemails, or unintentional (by accessing them, and tripping the 3 day auto-deletion) is the NoTW were *surreptitiously* accessing the account. This meant valuable police time and expertise was engaged in following up apparent phone activity, which might have been better deployed searching for known sex offenders in the area. Who knows, they may have been able to knock on Bellfields door a *second* time, and caught him then.
The sheer arrogance and brass balls of the NoTW cannot be overstated. Who the fuck did they think they were that they could patently (and ILLEGALLY) interfere in a life-or-death police investigation. And here's more thought-fodder ... you don't get an attitude like that overnight. You get it because you have done similar in the past, and got away with it. So how many serious criminal investigations did the NoTW similarly queer ? The only way to find out would be to ask them.
What's that you say ? They've closed down ? I bet the shredders worked overtime in the last 48 hours. I wonder if it was like the film "Downfall" ?