Scotland Yard has widened its investigation into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal and is looking into allegations dating as far back as 2001, according to a report in the Independent on Sunday.
In April, the News of the World issued an apology over new allegations of phone hacking dating from between 2004 and 2006. According to The Independent, at least three complaints against the newspaper relate to incidents that took place before or after 2004-06 – and at least one goes back to 2001 when Rebekah Brooks was editor.
Former Fire Brigades Union leader Andy Gilchrist told The Independent: ‘I have seen papers in the police’s possession from the original Mulcaire haul [the private detective jailed for hacking royal aides’ phones] that strongly suggest my phone was hacked into. Further, these papers clearly are marked with dates relating to 2001, 2002 and 2003. I have written to formally request copies of this documentation from the police.”
Other cases that fall outside the 2004-266 period relate to Ulrika Jonsson and Jude Law, the IoS reports.
The IoS also reported that police have evidence that the phones of the parents of Soham schoolgirl Jessica Chapman, who was murdered by Ian Huntley in August 2002, were hacked.
A spokesman for News International told the newspaper that it was aware of potential claims against the NoW from 2003 but added: ‘It was the principle of the apology that we made in April that was important, not the timescale.”
On Saturday, The Independent reported that News International owner Rupert Murdoch had sent a team of external US lawyers to the UK to investigate the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World.
The paper claimed that four independent investigative attorneys had been dispatched to London to ‘supervise the trawl through all evidence held by the company to establish who knew what and when”.
Last week Scotland Yard revealed it was a carrying out a ‘formal assessment exercise’into allegations that private detective Jonathan Rees carried out surveillance on public figures – including Tony Blair – on behalf of both News International and the Mirror Group.