Police failure to investigate Milly Dowler phone hacking 'unacceptable'

Police failure to investigate Milly Dowler phone hacking 'unacceptable'

The failure by British police to investigate the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone was "unacceptable" and "a matter of deep regret", an internal investigation has said.

Surrey Police officers may not have pursued the News of the World about information gleaned from a message left on her voicemail "because of the potential consequences", a report said.

But it was more likely the matter was not recognised as illegal as phone hacking was not a widely used term at the time of her disappearance in 2002 and the scale of the defunct tabloid's use of it was unknown at the time, it added.

The report also said all effort and energy was focused by investigating officers on finding Milly, and other matters were either not considered or prioritised.

It added that no evidence was found to suggest there was any collusion between Surrey Police and the News of the World, which ceased publication in 2011.

Milly, 13, was snatched from the street while on her way from school to her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.

Serial killer Levi Bellfield is serving a whole-life tariff after being found guilty of abducting and killing her following a trial at the Old Bailey.

More on this topic

Confirmed: James Murdoch to succeed father as Fox chief in JulyConfirmed: James Murdoch to succeed father as Fox chief in July

Sun journalist hits out at 'witch hunt' against the paperSun journalist hits out at 'witch hunt' against the paper

EastEnders star wins damages against newspaper and Metropolitan PoliceEastEnders star wins damages against newspaper and Metropolitan Police

Former spin doctor Coulson sentenced to 18 monthsFormer spin doctor Coulson sentenced to 18 months

More in this Section

Trump likens impeachment inquiry to ‘a lynching’Trump likens impeachment inquiry to ‘a lynching’

Jimmy Carter in hospital after fall at homeJimmy Carter in hospital after fall at home

Norwegian police open fire on man who ‘drove ambulance into crowd’, including baby in a pushchairNorwegian police open fire on man who ‘drove ambulance into crowd’, including baby in a pushchair

Manchester Arena bomber’s brother pleads not guilty to murder chargesManchester Arena bomber’s brother pleads not guilty to murder charges


Lifestyle

Put provenance first this season and make 'Made in Munster' the label to be seen in. With outstanding craftmanship and commitment to quality, these homegrown designers are making Munster-made fashion wish list worthy around the world. Shopping local has never looked so good. Carolyn Moore reports.Made in Munster: Shopping local has never looked this good.

Karen Cunneen-Bilbow Owner, Fabricate IrelandMade in Munster: ‘I turned my hobby into a business’

An invitation is extended to all to pay a visit to Bride View Cottage, writes Charlie WilkinsSeasonal cheer will spread early in Co Cork as an invitation is extended to all to visit Bride View Cottage

After a week of Fortnite Chapter 2, we think it’s fair to say Epic lived up to their name with the game’s ‘re-launch’.GameTech: Happy after a week of Fortnite Chapter 2

More From The Irish Examiner