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Did Rebekah Brooks ‘Hire’ News Of The World’s Milly Dowler Private Investigator

by | 5th, July 2011

THINGS are not looking good for Rebekah Brooks, now News International’s chief executive On the BBC’s Newsnight show, former News of the World journalist Paul McMullan alleges his editor and knew of the phone hacking. Did he know? Says McMullan:

“Of course she did.”

Will Brooks demand in herself the same standards of leadership she demanded Sharon Shoesmith uphold?

And it gets worse. The front page of the Independent makes a bold statement. The headline reads:

“Brooks contacted Dowler private detective herself.”

The Guardian’s Dan Sabbagh says this is about Brooks having commissioned investigator Steve Whittamore.

However, the work she commissioned was unrelated to the Dowler case. He says News International has acknowledged this and there is nothing to suggest there is anything illegal in this.

The Indy’s report states:

Ms Brooks, while editor of NOTW, used Steve Whittamore, a private detective who specialised in obtaining illegal information, to “convert” a mobile phone number to find its registered owner. Mr Whittamore also provided the paper with the Dowlers’ ex-directory home phone number.

The Information Commissioner’s Office, which successfully prosecuted Whittamore for breaches of the Data Protection Act in 2005, said last night it would have been illegal to obtain the mobile conversion if the details had been “blagged” from a phone company.

Ms Brooks, who said yesterday she was “shocked and appalled” at the latest hacking claims, admitted requesting the information. But she said it could be obtained by “perfectly legitimate means”.

The Guardian had reported earlier:

While Brooks was in the editor’s chair, the News of the World regularly hired Steve Whittamore, the Hampshire private investigator who ran a network of specialists who stole confidential information from British Telecom, mobile phone companies and the DVLA.

Records published by the Information Commissioner’s Office show that 23 journalists from the News of the World hired Whittamore a total of 228 times (including for the purchase of addresses and ex-directory numbers relating to Milly Dowler’s disappearance.)

Also during Brooks’s editorship, a former detective, who had been forced out of the Metropolitan police after a corruption inquiry, carried cash bribes to serving police officers on behalf of the paper, according to journalists who worked there at the time. In evidence to a Commons select committee, in March 2003, just after she left the News of the World, Brooks said: “We have paid the police for information in the past.” She has since written to the committee to say she knows of no specific example.

Were laws broken?



Posted: 5th, July 2011 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink