Tabloid may have hacked mother of murdered British girl

28th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The mother of a second murdered schoolgirl is "devastated" after she was told her phone may have been targeted by Britain's News of the World newspaper, her child welfare group said Thursday.

Sara Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter Sarah was abducted and killed by a paedophile in 2000, had worked closely with the now-defunct Sunday tabloid in a successful campaign to allow greater public access to the sex offenders register.

Payne, who wrote a column in the final edition of the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World earlier this month, calling it "an old friend", had previously been told that she was not a victim of phone hacking.

But she has since been informed that her contact details were found on a list compiled by private detective Glenn Mulcaire, who was used by the tabloid, her child welfare group The Phoenix Chief Advocates (TPCA) said.

Mulcaire and the newspaper's royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed on phone hacking charges in 2007.

Revelations on July 4 this year that the voicemails of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old schoolgirl murdered in 2002, had been hacked into triggered widespread disgust and snowballed into the scandal now engulfing politicians, the police and the press.

The News of the World closed after 168 years, publishing its last edition on July 10.

The police probe into phone hacking has been reopened and 10 people arrested.

"Whilst it was previously confirmed by Operation Weeting that Sara Payne's name was not on private investigator Glenn Mulcaire's list, it has now been confirmed by the Operation Weeting that Sara's details are on his list," TPCA said in a statement on its website.

"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."

The Guardian newspaper alleged that the phone the notes related to had been given to Payne by Rebekah Brooks, News of the World's editor from 2000 to 2003, to help her keep in contact with supporters.

Brooks resigned on July 15 as the chief executive of News International, the British newspaper publishing arm of US media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire.

© 2011 AFP

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