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?