British hacking investigator 'acted on instructions'

29th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A private detective at the centre of Britain's phone-hacking scandal said Friday he was acting on "instructions", rejecting claims by executives at the News of the World that he was a rogue operator.

Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007 for hacking cellphone voicemails, issued a statement a day after the mother of a murdered eight-year-old British girl said police had confirmed her details were found among Mulcaire's papers.

"Glenn Mulcaire has already expressed his sincere regret to those who have been hurt and affected by his activities and he repeats that apology most sincerely," said a statement issued through Mulcaire's solicitors.

"He was effectively employed by News of the World from 2002 to carry out his role as a private investigator. As he accepted when he pleaded guilty in 2007 to charges of phone interception he admits that his role did include phone hacking.

"As an employee he acted on the instructions of others."

In a cryptic passage, he added: "There were also occasions when he understood his instructions were from those who genuinely wished to assist in solving crimes. Any suggestion that he acted in such matters unilaterally is untrue.

"In the light of the ongoing police investigation, he cannot say any more."

Mulcaire and the News of the World's former royal editor Clive Goodman were charged in 2006 with hacking the phones of British royals and jailed the following year.

His decision to break his silence on Friday comes just over a week after News International, the British newspaper wing of Rupert Murdoch's global media empire, said it was terminating an agreement to pay his legal fees.

Rebekah Brooks, editor of the News of the World from 2000-2003, and Andy Coulson, her successor from 2003-2007, have both denied authorising phone hacking or knowing that the practice was being used.

Brooks and Coulson, who went on to become Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief until January this year, have since been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to hack phones and of making illegal payments to police.

Brooks said on Thursday she was "shocked" by claims that Mulcaire's notes contained the details of Sara Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne.

© 2011 AFP

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