Glenn Mulcaire denies erasing Milly Dowler voicemails


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The Independent Online

Private detective Glenn Mulcaire tonight denied deleting messages from Milly Dowler's phone as the murdered schoolgirl's parents spoke of their agony over the hacking scandal.

The investigator is accused of illegally accessing the teenager's voicemails after she went missing in 2002 but his solicitor said he had "no reason" to erase any of them.

Milly's mother Sally told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards that she did not sleep for three nights after police told her Mulcaire had hacked her daughter's phone.

The private detective's solicitor, Sarah Webb, of law firm Payne Hicks Beach, said Mulcaire had expressed his "sincere personal sympathy" for the Dowlers but could not say much because of the ongoing police investigation into hacking.

"He confirms that he did not delete messages and had no reason to do so," she added in a statement.

Mrs Dowler told the inquiry of her and her husband Bob's joy when they were given false hope that Milly was still alive after someone - said at the inquiry to be Mulcaire - deleted some of the schoolgirl's voicemails.

She rang her 13-year-old daughter's mobile phone repeatedly in the weeks after she vanished, leaving messages for her until the mailbox became full and it switched to a recorded statement.

Mrs Dowler continued calling Milly's number and felt elation when she finally got through to her recorded greeting.

She told the inquiry: "I rang her phone. It clicked through onto her voicemail, so I heard her voice and it was just like, 'she's picked up her voicemail, Bob, she's alive!'

"When we were told about the hacking, that's the first thing I thought."

Mrs Dowler described the moment, just before the start of the trial of the serial killer accused of Milly's murder, when police told her and her husband that Mulcaire was commissioned by the News of the World to hack their daughter's phone.

"As soon as I was told it was about phone hacking, literally I didn't sleep for about three nights because you replay everything in your mind and just think, 'oh, that makes sense now, that makes sense'," she said.

Mulcaire was jailed along with the News of the World's former royal editor Clive Goodman in January 2007 after they admitted intercepting voicemail messages left on phones belonging to royal aides.