Former full-time phone-hacker for the News of the World Glenn Mulcaire has repeated his assertion that be believed he was working indirectly for the police when he listened to the phone messages of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
And he has revealed that a third journalist from the NoW was involved in commissioning him to do so in addition to former news editor Greg Miskiw and former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, who are both currently in prison for conspiracy to hack phones.
The new revelations are made in book by deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday James Hanning which is being serialised by The Independent and Independent on Sunday and is based on extensive interviews with Mulcaire.
The Independent has said that Mulcaire was not paid by the paper and will not benefit from the book royalties either.
The Independent on Sunday has not named the third NoW journalist involved in tasking Mulcaire to hack Milly Dowler, but Mulcaire has handed the name on to police – the paper reports.
Mulcaire told Hanning: “I have never really thought like a journalist, and I certainly wasn't doing so then. All I wanted to do was find that girl, and I believed the work I was doing was being handed over directly to the police. That is what I was told.”
The judge in the recent phone-hacking trial said it was "unforgiveable" that the News of the World delayed handing over evidence which wrongly suggested Milly Dowler was still alive for 24 hours.
Mulcaire started working for the News of the World full-time in 2000 – latterly earning more than £100,000 a year.
He said that for the first three years he specialised in tracking down serious criminals, including paedophiles and Islamic extremists.
The atmosphere apparently changed when Andy Coulson (also currently in prison) became editor in 2003, taking over from Rebekah Brooks (then Wade) – when the emphasis shifted towards celebrities.
Mulcaire told The Independent his busiest time was 2005 and 2006. He said: “I was getting asked to do something on average about every 10 minutes. The phone barely stopped ringing."
He said he was then mainly targeting celebrities, but felt trapped and unable to stop: "I would have been blacklisted and unemployable. I would have become a bad name in the trade, so I was perfectly placed to be betrayed. It was damned if you do, and damned if you don't. How do you explain to the kids that we can't go on living in this house any more? I couldn't have done that. The carrot got shorter and the stick got longer, and I should have cultivated other outlets."
‘The News Machine’, by James Hanning, with Glenn Mulcaire (Gibson Square, £12.99), is published on 31 July