Tessa Jowell goes to court to find out who hacked into her phone
Friday 18 March 2011
Former cabinet minister Tessa Jowell has begun legal proceedings which could see her name added to the list of public figures suing the News of the World for alleged phone hacking.
The Labour MP, who believes attempts to intercept her phone messages may have been made by persons unknown this year, has applied to the High Court for the disclosure of documents seized by police from Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator jailed in 2007 for illegally eavesdropping voicemails while working for the NOTW.
When the Metropolitan Police raided Mr Mulcaire's south London home in August 2006 they confiscated large quantities of data, including several notebooks in which the private detective listed the names, phone numbers and the voicemail access codes of dozens of individuals.
Ms Jowell, who revealed last year she had been told by Scotland Yard that her phone was tapped 28 times in May 2006, is following a route taken by several other individuals, including the actress Sienna Miller, by applying to police for the disclosure of documents in which their details were logged by Mr Mulcaire. Once those documents have been obtained, alleged victims have then made the decision on whether to bring claims against Rupert Murdoch's top-selling title. The shadow Olympics minister declined to comment on whether she was preparing to take legal action against the newspaper, saying only that the court document "speaks for itself". Sources close to Ms Jowell said it was incorrect to suggest that she was alleging wrongdoing against the police.
Scotland Yard was called in by Ms Jowell in January after she received a warning from her mobile phone company, Vodafone, that there had been an unauthorised attempt to access her voicemail. The MP has strong reason for believing her name appears on Mr Mulcaire's files. Speaking last September, she said: "I know I was tapped 28 times by May 2006 because the police told me. I had a call when I was on holiday in August 2006 from the Met to say that I had been tapped, but they asked me do nothing except increase the security on my phone."
The alleged hacking would have taken place at a time when Ms Jowell was the subject of intense media scrutiny after her separation in March 2006 from her husband, David Mills, over allegations that he accepted a £390,000 bribe from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Mr Mills is understood to have written to police already to ask whether his name appears in Mr Mulcaire's files.
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