UK Phone Hacking Scandal: Milly Dowler's Voicemails Deleted
News of the World Phone Hacking Scandal Extended to Millie Dowler
The News of the World phone hacking scandal did not just involve celebrities and politicians. The Murdoch-owned paper hired hackers to break into the mobile phone accounts of others who found themselves part of the news cycle. One such person: Amanda "Milly" Dowler, a teenage girl who was abducted in 2002.
Milly Dowler's voicemail filled up as the search for the missing girl continued. Journalists working for NoW allegedly hacked into her mobile account within days of her abduction, and kept tabs on the incoming voicemails.
However, News of the World got greedy for more info. Milly Dowler's voicemails were deleted to make room for new ones. Her family, who kept ringing and texting her mobile phone, was finding that Millie's message bank was no longer full; they thought that Millie was checking her voicemail, and was thus still alive.
The hope turned out to be false. Milly Dowler's body was found six months after her disappearance. Nightclub bouncer Levi Bellfield was convicted of her murder. Glenn Mulcaire, hired by NoW, kept notes about Milly Dowler, which police found when they busted him for other instances of illegal wiretapping.
This led to Operation Weeting, an investigation into News of the World's involvement in the Milly Dowler case, for which it faces charges of obstructing a police investigation. Glenn Mulcaire, along with NoW editor Clive Goodman, was jailed in 2007 after it was proven that they hacked into the voicemails of Royal Family staffers.
News of the World is facing more than just legal blowback: Ford UK is pulling its advertising from the paper.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police is also under pressure: Only Goodman and Mulcaire were jailed, and no other News International staffers were implicated. When over 3,000 celebrity, royal, and political voicemail accounts get hacked, the public tends not to believe that nobody else at News International knew what was going on. The House of Commons is debating a full public inquiry into News International's involvement in a possible cover-up of the affair.