It has been alleged that the News of the World hacked murdered teenager Milly Dowler's mobile phone just days after she had been kidnapped. Private investigators working for the News of the World allegedly hacked into Milly Dowler's phone and listened to and deleted some of her most private voicemails that not only gave false hope to Milly Dowler's family that she was alive but erased evidence that the police could have used in their enquiries.
It is the latest deplorable act by the News of the World who up until now it was believed they were only targeting celebrities. This latest twisted act shows how low the newspaper was willing to go, causing hurt and distress to an already shattered family. The phone hacking allegation led the family to believe that Milly Dowler was alive after the private investigator was able to intercept and deleted voicemails from her parents.
The Dowler family lawyer has described the allegations as both 'heinous' and 'despicable' as he announced that the family would be pressing for claims of damages. The BBC claims that investigators had also targeted the parents of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in the weeks after their daughters had been murdered by Soham killer Ian Huntley.
It is alleged that Milly Dowler's phone was hacked up until April 2002; up to three weeks after she had disappeared in Walton and Thames. It is alleged that private investigators received access to Milly Dowler's phone just days after the school girl had been reported missing.
News International, which owns the News of the World, last night faced a growing political backlash as senior Labour figures called for Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive, to step down. Mrs Brooks edited the News of the World when the alleged hacking took place. During her time at the newspaper, she campaigned for the introduction of Sarah's Law. The scheme, proposed after eight-year-old Sarah Payne's murder 11 years ago, lets parents check if anyone with access to their children has a paedophile background.
Politicians said that the allegations raised fresh concerns over the bid by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation - which owns News International - to take full ownership of BskyB. Labour figures questioned the suitability of Mr Murdoch as the prospective sole owner of the television company.
Tom Watson, a Labour MP, said in the Commons yesterday that the alleged hacking was a "despicable and evil act".
He also alleged that one of Kevin and Nicola Wells or Leslie and Sharon Chapman, the parents of the two girls murdered by Ian Huntley, had also had their phone messages hacked into.
A News International spokesman said: "We have been co-operating fully with Operation Weeting since our voluntary disclosure in January restarted the investigation into illegal voicemail interception.
'This particular case is clearly a development of great concern and we will be conducting our own inquiries as a result.'