Watchdog to probe claim that police leaked Dowler details

 

A Surrey police officer is to be investigated over allegations that he passed information about the hunt for the killer of schoolgirl Milly Dowler to the News of the World.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was investigating after a referral from the Surrey Police asking for it to assess claims that the unnamed detective gave details about the murder hunt to the defunct Sunday newspaper.

The Independent revealed last month that an officer was removed from Operation Ruby, the codename for the investigation into the disappearance of the 13-year-old, in the early days of the inquiry in 2002 and given "words of advice" about his conduct.

Surrey Police, which declined to comment yesterday, said at that time it had not found evidence that the officer gave information to the NOTW. It is understood that no fresh evidence has come to light since then but the force felt the matter should now be passed to the police watchdog.

The IPCC said: "A deputy senior investigator has been at Surrey Police this morning to get more information and will be writing to the Dowlers' solicitor at the family's request."

Mark Lewis, the family's lawyer, said they welcomed the investigation, but it was long overdue.

He told BBC News: "The family are obviously pleased this is being looked at, but it is nine years later than it happened. One officer was removed from the initial Milly investigation in 2002, we are now in 2011."

Surrey Police said last month the detective had been removed from the Dowler inquiry after he revealed details to a retired police officer, who reported the disclosures to the force.

It is understood that further allegations have been made suggesting that when at a social event the officer gave information to a NOTW reporter that appeared in the newspaper. He is not believed to have been paid.

The Dowler case is particularly sensitive after it emerged that private investigator Glenn Mulcaire hacked into Milly's voicemails after her disappearance and deleted several messages, giving her family false hope that she was still alive.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test