Murdoch paper's hacking victims total 800: police

10th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

British police said Saturday the final number of victims of phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News of the World will be around 800 people, far less than originally thought.

The Scotland Yard officer leading the investigation into the scandal at the now-defunct tabloid said police had now been in touch with everyone whose voicemails were illegally accessed.

As late as a month ago Scotland Yard had said it identified 5,800 potential hacking victims, based largely on names found in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator jailed for phone-hacking in 2007.

"We are confident we have personally contacted all the people who have been hacked or are likely to have been hacked," Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers said in a statement.

"But there is a raft of people still to be spoken to who are potential targets, but are unlikely to have been hacked."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Operation Weeting (the hacking probe) has been in contact with or been contacted by 2,037 people, of which in the region of 803 are 'victims', whose names have appeared in the material."

The new, lower total was first reported by the Murdoch-owned Times newspaper.

Phone-hacking victims have included celebrities including actors Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller, as well as aides to Britain's royal family.

The scandal exploded in July when allegations emerged that Mulcaire, acting for the News of the World, had hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, a murdered British schoolgirl.

Murdoch closed the tabloid that month while the row also claimed the jobs of two top Scotland Yard officers and several Murdoch executives.

Eighteen people have been arrested, including Prime Minister David Cameron's former media chief Andy Coulson, a one-time News of the World editor.

© 2011 AFP

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