Papers guilty of contempt over Milly Dowler case

Two national newspapers have been found guilty of contempt of court over articles published after a killer's conviction for the abduction and murder of the schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

The ruling against the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror was made by two judges at the High Court in London in a case brought against them by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.

Both papers, which contested the action, had been accused of publishing "seriously prejudicial" articles.

At a hearing in June the judges were told that the papers' stories were part of an "avalanche" of adverse publicity that followed the guilty verdicts against Levi Bellfield – while jurors were still deliberating on another charge against him. Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice Tugendhat heard that as a result of the publicity, the Old Bailey jury was discharged from returning a verdict on that count.

The newspapers argued that their publications would not have created a substantial risk of serious prejudice. But the two judges ruled in favour of the Attorney General yesterday.

The Attorney General said: "The question of penalty is now for the court to consider."