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Rediff.com  » News » NoTW hacked murdered 8-year-old's mother's phone

NoTW hacked murdered 8-year-old's mother's phone

July 29, 2011 17:13 IST

There was more bad news for Rupert Murdoch's media empire in Britain with the revelation that the now defunct tabloid News of the World hacked the phone of the mother of another murder victim Sarah Payne. Eight-year-old Sarah's case had been turned into a campaign by the tabloid.

The recent phone hacking controversy had spiralled into a major controversy after it was revealed that murder victim Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked at the behest of the tabloid for information to be used in news stories.

Sara Payne, mother of Sarah, was visited by officers from Scotland Yard, who confirmed that her contact details were on a list compiled by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

She is reported to be 'absolutely devastated' by the news. Sara had worked closely with the News of the World on the campaign that led to parents being given the right to check whether people with access to their children had convictions for sexual offences. She wrote an article for the newspaper's final edition in which she described staff as "good and trusted friends".

The phone in question was said to have been given to Payne 11 years ago by Rebekah Brooks when the latter was the editor of the tabloid. Brooks confirmed on Thursday that Payne had been given a telephone but stressed it was from the News of the World and not a personal gift from her.

Brooks described allegations that the phone may have been hacked as "abhorrent". She said the allegation was "particularly upsetting" because Payne was a "dear friend".

A statement from the Phoenix Chief Advocates, a child welfare group, said, "Sara is absolutely devastated by this news. We're all deeply disappointed and are just working to get her through it. Sara will continue to work with the proper authorities regarding this matter."

Tom Watson, the Labour MP who has campaigned on the hacking issue, described the allegation as a "new low".

"The last edition of the News of the World made great play of the paper's relationship with the Payne family. Brooks talked about it at the committee inquiry. Now this. I have nothing but contempt for the people that did this," he said.
Prasun Sonwalkar in London
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