Police admit they knew Milly Dowler was hacked
Surrey force says it knew in 2002 that the News of the World had accessed phone messages
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 21 October 2011
Surrey Police last night admitted for the first time it did know that the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked by the News of the World in the early stages of the investigation into the teenager's disappearance.
Following an investigation by The Independent which established that the force failed to take action against the Sunday newspaper despite being made aware of the hacking, Chief Constable Mark Rowley said the title had phoned the police operation room in April 2002 and disclosed that it had accessed her voicemail.
In a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Rowley said officers had "focused on retrieving any evidence the NOTW had that could assist in the investigation into Milly Dowler's disappearance", as that was the priority.
But the chief constable confirmed that no criminal investigation was launched into how the News International title obtained the information it provided and that Surrey Police "neither arrested nor charged anyone" in connection with the hacking.
An inquiry is now being conducted into why the force failed to pursue the NOTW, Mr Rowley said.
In a further significant admission, Surrey Police said it appeared the force had also failed to pass the information it held about the hacking of Milly's Nokia mobile phone to the Metropolitan Police during its heavily criticised original investigation into voicemail interception by the NOTW in 2006.
Keith Vaz, the committee's chairman, said: "Had Surrey Police acted in 2002, it may have prevented the culture of hacking becoming endemic at News of the World. This was a serious omission. The committee will be investigating further the reasons why Surrey Police did not follow up on this evidence."
The Surrey force's disclosure comes after The Independent last week revealed that senior Surrey Police detectives leading the Dowler investigation met on at least two occasions with NOTW journalists and were shown evidence that the paper held information taken from the voicemails of the murdered schoolgirl.
In response to repeated questions over a two-month period from The Independent, Surrey Police refused to confirm that it was aware of the phone hacking, saying it was prevented from discussing the allegations because of Scotland Yard's phone-hacking inquiry and an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ukip Jelly Babies cause uproar on Amazon
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces