Payne detective's phone 'hacked'

A police officer involved in the investigation into the murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne has said he believes his phone may have been hacked by the News of the World.

Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Lewis, who was second-in-command of the Sussex Police investigation into the 2000 killing, said he had now reported his concerns to Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting inquiry.



The claim follows the disclosure that Sarah's mother, Sara Payne, may have had her phone hacked by the News of the World, despite having worked closely with the paper to campaign for tougher child protection laws.



Mr Lewis said he initially became suspicious some time in 2002 or 2003 when he was telephoned at home by a News of the World executive threatening to publish a story about him which concerned the Payne family.



He said he told the executive that the story was completely untrue and warned he would sue if the paper ran it. In the event, nothing appeared.



"The fact they didn't run the story would suggest their source was illegal and if I had admitted what the executive asked me they would have run the story and because I didn't they didn't run the story," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.



"I was the main (police) contact with Sara. Sara over a period of time became my friend and we often left each other lengthy voicemails which were intimate, because we are friends, and which could be misinterpreted or this allegation about the Payne family could have been construed from it."



He said that the calls had been made on a police mobile which also contained voicemail messages relating to other investigations.



"On that case and on other cases I was running covert inquiries, sensitive inquiries, that would have been the subject of answer phone messages," he said.



The chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, John Whittingdale, said that it was another "appalling" allegation.



"People were very shocked to discover Sarah Payne's phone may have been hacked. Obviously to hack into a police officer's phone raises whole other questions," he said.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project