Nine-year-old girl used Vodafone number linked to murdered escort

Vanessa Santillan, believed to be an escort, was murdered in March in London

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The Independent Online

A nine-year-old girl was given a mobile phone number linked to a murdered Mexican escort, it has been reported.

The young girl’s father, Paul Louden, said his daughter received an answer-phone message from an officer working in the Metropolitan Police’s homicide and serious crime department.

The message, he said, left his daughter “in tears”.

Mr Louden, from Edinburgh, was told by police that the number had been linked to Vanessa Santillan, believed to be an escort, who was killed in London in March. The 33-year-old had arrived in the capital from Mexico in January.

According to the Daily Record, Mr Louden was told Ms Santillan’s number had been disconnected during the murder inquiry but officers had been monitoring it and needed to establish who was using it when it was reactivated.

Mr Louden told the newspaper he bought his daughter an iPhone so she could contact a friend in Australia and was given the number in June.

“I thought I was doing all the right things – buying it on contract from a reputable outlet and putting strict parental controls on it as regards the internet and making calls," he said.

"And the only people who had the number were family.

“We’ve tried to get answers from Vodafone on why they recycled a number before the six months cooling off period."

 

But in a statement, Vodafone said they had complied with the cooling off period.

“We were very sorry to hear that Mr Louden's daughter was upset by the call from a police officer but this was entirely beyond our control," the statement said.

“The number in question was first connected on our network by a previous customer on 18 August 2014 and was disconnected on 7 November 2014.  Six months after disconnection … the number was re-allocated to Mr Louden.”

The company said there had been no activity on the number between its disconnection and when it was given to Mr Louden in May 2015.

Vodafone said the phone agreement had been cancelled early but a gesture of goodwill of £25 had been refused by Mr Louden.

The Met said it would not be commenting due to the upcoming trial of Joaquin Gomez-Hernandez, who was charged with Ms Santillan’s murder.

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