Phone-Hacking Scandal: Reporters Said Not Responsible For Deleting Messages That Gave Girl's Parents False Hope

New information emerged over the weekend in the News Of The World phone hacking scandal. Police are said to have concluded that reporters from the shuttered paper were not responsible for deleting certain messages on the answering machine of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. The Guardian reports that News Of The World reporters were likely to blame for the deletion of some messages, but not for deletion of the particular messages that caused the Dowler family to have false hope that the girl was still alive. According to the report, evidence shows that her cellphone would automatically delete messages 72 hours after listened to. So while reporters would have caused some messages to be erased inadvertently, police found that others had been deleted before the News Of The World began hacking into the phone. When the original news of reporters’ actions came to light earlier this year, News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch called it “abhorrent,” closed down News Of The World, apologized to the Dowlers and gave them a £2 million settlement while also donating £1 million to charities. The attorney for the Dowlers, Mark Lewis, said in a statement over the weekend, “It remains unchallenged that the News Of The World listened to Milly Dowler’s voicemail and eavesdropped on deeply personal messages which were being left for her by her distraught friends and family. By listening to messages, deletions occurred even if no conscious act of deletion had been undertaken.”

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