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 Claims News of the World 'hacked 7/7 family phones'

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PostSubject: Claims News of the World 'hacked 7/7 family phones'   Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:43 am

Claims News of the World 'hacked 7/7 family phones'



Families of 7/7 bombing victims may have had their phones hacked by the News of the World, it has emerged.

A solicitor representing some of the relatives said one family had been contacted by police and told their phone may have been hacked in 2005.

New allegations have also emerged of payments to the police by the paper.

The tabloid's owners have passed to the police e-mails which appear to show that payments were authorised by the then editor, Andy Coulson.

Graham Foulkes, whose son David died in the Edgware Road blast, told the BBC he was contacted by officers on Tuesday after his details were found on a list as part of the police inquiry in hacking claims.

Mr Foulkes, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, recalled how his family had waited for a week after the 2005 attacks for news of David.

"My wife and I were kind of all over the place, we were chatting to friends on the phone, in a very personal and deeply emotional context - and the thought that somebody may have been listening to that just looking for a cheap headline is just horrendous."

He said police contacted him on Tuesday when they became aware of media reports that 7/7 victims' families may have had their phones hacked.

Mr Foulkes said he would like to meet News International's owner, Rupert Murdoch, to talk to him about "the power he has".

He added: "I certainly think that News International need to come clean, they need to accept their responsibility and their culpability, and they need to do the decent thing, but I suppose they won't."

In a statement, News International said: "It is correct to state that new information has recently been provided to the police.

"As News International and News Group Newspapers has reiterated many times, full and continuing co-operation has been provided to the police since the current investigation started in January 2011.
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman Cambridgeshire Police said Met detectives visited the parents of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman

"Well understood arrangements are in place to ensure that any material of importance to which they are entitled is provided to them. We cannot comment any further due to the ongoing investigations."

Mr Coulson has not commented on the latest allegations, although it has been reported he has told friends he suspects he is being used to deflect attention from News International.

Car maker Ford has announced a halt on advertising in the News of the World, pending the newspaper's investigation and response over the phone-hacking claims.

'Hurt or upset'

The latest developments came after allegations private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, working for the News of the World, hacked the phone of murdered Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler when she was missing.

News International has promised the "strongest possible action" if it is proven Milly's phone was hacked.

Milly Dowler, who was 13, went missing in March 2002 near her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Her remains were found in remote woodland at Yateley Heath in Hampshire six months later.

Nightclub doorman Levi Bellfield was convicted of the murder last month.

The Guardian has claimed Mulcaire intercepted messages left by relatives for Milly while she was missing and that the News of the World deleted some messages it had already listened to in order to make space for more to be left.

In a statement released to the Guardian on Tuesday, Mulcaire made no direct reference to those allegations but apologised "to anybody who was hurt or upset by what I have done".

The parents of murdered Soham girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman have been contacted by police investigating phone-hacking by journalists.
Continue reading the main story
Analysis
image of Torin Douglas Torin Douglas BBC media correspondent

The News of the World has already started paying compensation for phone-hacking. Now it's facing another financial penalty - a loss of advertising.

Following the Milly Dowler allegations, Ford has suspended its advertisements, saying "it cares about the standards of behaviour of those it deals with externally".

Halifax and Npower say they are reviewing their options. Tesco and Virgin Media say they're awaiting the outcome of the police investigations.

Many will applaud Ford's action. But should advertisers use their financial muscle to try to influence the behaviour of the media? It is not usually regarded as a good thing for big business to threaten newspapers and broadcasters, particularly over editorial issues.

There have been exceptions. Carphone Warehouse stopped sponsoring Channel 4's Big Brother, following allegations of racism towards Shilpa Shetty. It's the advertisers' money - but are they the right people to tell the media how to behave?

BBC business editor Robert Peston said police are investigating whether the phone of Jessica's father, Leslie Chapman, was hacked by the press.

Jessica and Holly, both 10, of Soham, Cambridgeshire, were murdered in 2002 by school caretaker Ian Huntley, who was jailed for life.
'Illicit techniques'

BBC business editor Robert Peston said the e-mail disclosure was "a significant development".

He said it had an important political dimension, in that Mr Coulson went on to work for David Cameron as director of communications at 10 Downing Street.

Mr Coulson resigned from that post in January, saying the phone-hacking scandal has made it hard to focus on his government role.

Our correspondent said it also shows that the police investigation into alleged illicit techniques used by the News of the World to obtain stories goes much wider than an examination of the hacking of mobile phones.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Cameron will have returned from Afghanistan to find himself "at the centre of the row about media ethics, the power of the Murdoch empire and his own judgement in hiring Andy Coulson".
Former News of the World newspaper editor Andy Coulson Mr Coulson went on to work for David Cameron as director of communications at 10 Downing Street

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has granted an urgent debate into whether there should be a public inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal.

This follows a call by Labour MP Chris Bryant, who accused the News of the World of "playing God with a family's emotions".

Also on Wednesday, the Media Standards Trust - which aims to promote high news standards within the media - will launch the Hacked Off campaign calling for a public inquiry into "phone hacking and other forms of illegal intrusion by the press".

The Metropolitan Police launched Operation Weeting in January this year after new phone-hacking claims emerged. The force has faced criticism for its initial inquiry in 2006 into phone-hacking at the paper.

That probe led to the convictions and imprisonment of Mulcaire and then News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman in 2007 for conspiracy to access phone messages left for members of the royal household.

A number of alleged phone-hacking victims have since reached out-of-court settlements with the newspaper.

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