Guardian journalist Nick Davies has said that he believed one or more News of the World journalists would have done the actual hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone – rather than private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
Addressing the Leveson Inquiry into the hacking scandal today he said of Mulcaire: ‘He doesn’t actually do listening to messages himself, much of that was done by journalists themselves. Mulcaire’s job was to enable them to do that where there was some problem.”
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Regarding the hacking of the phone of Milly Dowler when she went missing in 2002, he said: ‘Mulciare facilitated the hacking by one or more News of the World journalists.”
Mulcaire issued a statement on 21 November in which he denied deleting any voicemail messages on Milly Dowler’s phone. This followed the testimony of the Dowler family to the Leveson Inquiry in which they revealed how the deletion of voicemail messages gave them false hope that their missing daughter was alive.
Davies revealed how the genesis for his investigation into the phone-hacking scandal for The Guardian came in January 2008 when he was talking about the ‘dark arts’ of tabloid journalism with then News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner on the Today Programme.
On the subject of phone-hacking, Kuttner apparently said: ‘This happened once at the News of the World, a reporter was sent to prison and that’s it.”
Davies said: ‘That was a statement that was false. It prompted somebody I had never heard of to get in touch with me who said: ‘I heard Kuttner on the radio and you have got to know the truth.'”
Some 18 months later, in July 2009, The Guardian published its first expose about the wider extent of hacking at the News of the World..
Davies said that more than 15 former News of the World journalists had talked to him, or his researcher, on condition of anonymity since then. He said: ‘They were tremendously important, the engine of moving the story forward.”