Murdered British girl's family in phone-hacking payout

20th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The owners of the now-defunct News of the World will pay two million pounds to the family of the murdered girl at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal in Britain, reports said Monday.

News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch will also make a donation of one million pounds (£1.5 million, 1.15 million euros) to charity as part of the settlement, British media reported.

A spokesman for News International, the British publishing arm of News Corp., confirmed on Monday that the company "was in advanced negotiations with the Dowler family regarding their compensation settlement."

"No final agreement has yet been reached, but we hope to conclude the discussions as quickly as possible," added the statement.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World was shut down in August after a public outcry when it emerged a private investigator working for the Sunday tabloid hacked into the dead girl's voicemail after she went missing in 2002.

The 13-year-old's remains were found six months later in a forest.

Rupert Murdoch met the Dowler family in July and made a "full and humble" apology," according to the family's lawyer Mark Lewis.

The News Corporation boss "held his head in his hands" and repeatedly told the family he was "very, very sorry", Lewis added.

News International paid out £425,000 to Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor in 2008 after he launched legal action over his phone being hacked.

Actress Sienna Miller accepted £100,000 in May after the company accepted unconditional liability for her phone hacking and former Sky football pundit Andy Gray accepted £20,000 a month later after discovering he was a victim.

The scandal emerged in 2007 when private detective Glenn Mulcaire was jailed along with the tabloid's royal editor Clive Goodman.

Police closed the inquiry and the evidence from Mulcaire's files lay untouched for several years, until they finally revived the probe in January amid mounting evidence that phone hacking was more widespread at the paper.

Several former journalists from the News of the World tabloid and News International have since been arrested over alleged hacking or police bribery.

The tabloid's ex-editor Andy Coulson, who also worked as Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief until January, was arrested on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption on July 8 and released on bail.

© 2011 AFP

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