So that’s the Guardian wrong then. Quelle Surprise

Journalists at the News of the World did not delete schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s voicemails and give her parents ‘false hope’ she was alive, the phone hacking trial judge said yesterday.

Mr Justice Saunders told the jury that a private detective working for the now defunct tabloid had accessed the 13-year-old’s mobile phone and hacked her messages after she went missing in 2002, but had not deliberately deleted the voicemails.

The Guardian newspaper previously claimed in 2011 that messages were deliberately deleted and this had given Milly’s parents false hope that their daughter was alive.

Mr Justice Saunders told the Old Bailey jury the messages would have been automatically saved once they had been listened to, and then deleted from the answerphone system eventually.

But by then the News of the World had already contacted Surrey Police and told officers it had taped recordings of the messages.

Summing up the evidence in the seven-month trial he said: ‘Once hacked into, it becomes a saved message to be deleted automatically.

‘It…couldn’t have led to any false hope because the News of the World went to the police.’

He repeated trial evidence, saying: ‘They, the Guardian, were wrong and they have accepted it.’

Didn’t The G win a prize for that reporting?

And it was the straw that led to the closure of the News of the World. Have they apologised to those who lost their jobs yet?

21 thoughts on “So that’s the Guardian wrong then. Quelle Surprise”

  1. Collateral damage in the great struggle.

    They were lucky they were hacks on a paper in 2012, and not bespectacled Cambodians in 1976.

  2. Also still disappointed that the Daily Mirror is in print. The Guardian Beeb alliance was quite clear on this point: Any news organisation found guilty of hacking should be closed down.

    Unless it’s not owned by Rupert Murdoch, of course.

  3. If you listen to messages on a phone they do change reported status e.g. they lose the “New message” report and become old messages.
    Does anyone know exactly what the parents themselves had discovered and then thought?
    I had to remind myself about the original original Guardian article and they were pretty tabloid lurid in their speculation.

    “Apparently thirsty for more information from more voicemails, the paper 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.”

  4. I have to say, though, that it’s a particularly low piece of scum that thinks it’s acceptable to intercept the voicemail messages of a missing girl, or anyone really. I don’t regret the closure of the paper, personally.

  5. Interested

    Agreed, however, the G’s beef was with the ACTIONS of NOTW, or so it says. So I’ll judge the G by the same standards; it fabricated a story.

  6. “it fabricated a story”: comment is free, facts are expensive.

    Except comment isn’t really free, obviously.

  7. what an amazing set of comments here. The Judge actually said that the NOTW’s action could have caused that the messages to become deleted by the act of listening to them and changing their status…. . The Judge also disclosed that a NOTW journalist (sic) impersonated the girl’s mother when seeking to get information from the employment agency in Telford. Rebekah Brooks gave Sara Payne’s mother a mobile phone, nice gesture, and then the number was found in Mulcaire’s list. I suggest you look at the Judge’s summing up and ask whether the Guardian is so worthy of your scorn.

  8. @Mildly Perturbed

    Speaking for myself, I said some employees of the NOTW behaved like scum and that I didn’t regret the closure of the paper.

    However, the Guardian lied about what they did and a lot of people who had nothing whatsoever to do with hacking phones – sports journos, even most news journos, editorial runners, secretaries, ad sales people etc – lost their jobs.

    Are you also mildly perturbed by that?

  9. mildly perturbed

    I have to reply as follows: if one takes the view that the 153 year old, most widely read English language newspaper was closed in order to cauterize the wound/stop the infection/ save the brand/ save the bskyb bid, a cynical decision by Murdoch, the man who built the culture in which hacking thrived; then casualties of such a decision must be seen in that context. Murdoch closed the paper when its stink damaged his bigger business interest, and the stink was caused by the hacking of the poor girls’ phone and many others and the less than ideal culture. Nick Davies overzealous speculation was no more than a match in a petrol station, the structure was ripe for burning anyway. The people that worked at NOTW with clean hands (weather? horoscopes?) were in my view on borrowed time anyway. I’m sad for those specific decent people but I don’t regret the conflagration, no.

  10. As I say, I don’t regret its closure. I didn’t read it.

    Mind you, I would actively celebrate the closure of the Guardian – after all, it’s a newspaper that supports a political belief system that in variants has tortured and killed millions and immiserated even more.

    Set against that, the issue of whether an almost dead Aussie American controls a satellite TV firm is quite small potatoes.

  11. mildly perturbed


    nice chatting with you

    an in the 1930s the Daily mail supported Hitzzzzzzzz…….

    I don’t much care whether an Australian/American owns a satellite tv channel either. I minded when he he tried to run the country by getting dirt on politicians in order to “influence” them. Again in the hacking trial, the NOTW and Sun targetting of Blunkett and Clark, successive home secretaries was eyebrow-raising. Reporting the news? no ,political machiavellism more like. But I suppose if his politics are like yours, he ‘s probably just a lovable old rogue.

  12. Mildly perturbed and interested, I have no wish to close newspapers of either political stripe, believing that balance and perspective is only achievable through vulgar debate. I do want to see truth served: I think some belly crawling apology and snivelling, we twisted the facts to suit our agenda, from the Graun editorial desk, is called for, their sanctimoniousness has been utterly nauseating.

  13. mildly perturbed said: ” I minded when he he tried to run the country by getting dirt on politicians in order to “influence” them. Again in the hacking trial, the NOTW and Sun targetting of Blunkett and Clark, successive home secretaries was eyebrow-raising.”

    I don’t think it was them he wanted to influence but us, the public. This worked in two ways. Firstly when The Sun was working with Number 10 using a grid to co-ordinate newspaper stories with legislation – you’d get a moral panic in the papers followed some days later by the policy announcement. This cosy relationship served both Blairite Labour and Murdoch well.

    At the same time the paper was still delving into the backgrounds, connections and habits of our representatives. Hacking phones is not a legitimate way to do it but it is a reasonable thing for the media to do.

  14. Murdoch was in the process of putting together taking full ownership of Sky and expanding it enough to give the BBC state monopoly real competition.

    Then this “news” broke. Not just just broke but became the first item (& sometimes most items) on the state owned BBC/C4 “news”, almost every day for 2 months, including the Milly lies.

    The BBC liars kept their monopoly. I believe this lie was, with not 1% as much coverage, previously acknowledged. And we continue to have the world’s most powerful totalitarian broadcasting monopoly.

    “What was interesting wasn’t true & what was true wasn’t interesting” – old newspaper line.

  15. NOTW – Squalid bastards

    The Grauniad – lying, lefty, hypocritical bastards afloat only through adverts of cushy overpaid govt jobs

    The mirror – squalid lefty bastards – remind me why it was that NOTW closed (perhaps fearing a backlash from readership) and Mirror didn’t (readers couldn’t give a shit?? (cos they’re lefties???)) certainly little was made in the state broadcaster about the mirror’s equally squalid behaviour.

    What a thoroughly squalid and depressing business and what a dreary picture emerges of human nature.

    But it’s D day and we remember heroism of the highest order (on both sides) – ain’t human nature grand?

    Moral of the story – you have to hold your nose sometimes, when push comes to shove people aren’t so bad as they’re sometimes depicted. Plus many of the DDay fallen were undoubtedly Mirror readers which doesn’t diminish them in the slightest.

  16. People always over-estimate the power of the press. Just cos the Sun said it was it wot won it don’t mean it was it wot won it.

    I would also add that many journalists are noble seekers of truth and lovely people to boot.

    Plus. what BiI said.

  17. “no more than a match in a petrol station”: that may be the worst-judged metaphor I’ve ever seen.

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