Phone hacking widespread at News International as recently as 2009

 

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The Independent Online

Police have uncovered new evidence that phone hacking was endemic at News International until 2009 – part of a "thriving cottage industry" of lawbreaking that involved "at least" 28 of the company's employees.

The Leveson inquiry also heard that notebooks seized in 2006 from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who carried out phone hacking for the News of the World, suggest he also worked for The Sun and "maybe" the Daily Mirror.

The inquiry has been provided with material from Scotland Yard that suggests "wide-ranging, illegal activity" at Wapping dating back to the hacking of the phone of the murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, in 2002 and continuing "until at least 2009", three years after two employees were arrested and later jailed for hacking.

The 2006 arrest of Mulcaire and Clive Goodman, NOTW royal editor, and their subsequent jailing, was supposed to have been when the paper stopped reporters from hacking celebrities, politicians and victims of crime. Counsel for the inquiry, Robert Jay QC, said: "According to the Met police, NI's hacking operation had certainly begun by 2002, Milly Dowler being the first known victim. The police believe it continued till at least 2009. The police belief is not derived from an analysis of the Mulcaire notebooks, which we know were seized in 2006." i had been told by a number of the hacked victims that they believed the illegal activities of the NOTW must have gone on past Mulcaire and Goodman.

The suggestion that the Yard's Operation Weeting has discovered evidence beyond Mulcaire's notebooks would be devastating for the Murdoch empire. Senior executives vowed repeatedly that the practice was halted in 2006. If information is uncovered that the Mirror commissioned Mulcaire to hack phones, it would be the first time that a non-Murdoch newspaper has been implicated in the scandal.

The Royal Courts of Justice in London heard that the names of Goodman and at least 27 other NI employees appeared as so-called "corner names" in notes seized by police from Mulcaire's home in 2006.

Mulcaire used to write the names of those who had commissioned him in the top corner of each page.

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