Cameron shocked by phone hacking

2011-07-05 14:01

London - Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday he is shocked by allegations that a British tabloid hacked into the cellphone of a murdered schoolgirl after she went missing.

"If they are true, this is a truly dreadful act and a truly dreadful situation," Cameron said about the latest hacking allegations against the News of the World.

"What I've read in the papers is quite, quite shocking, that someone could do this actually knowing that the police were trying to find this person and trying to find out what happened," he added.

The prime minister spoke while on a brief trip to Afghanistan as the phone hacking scandal in Britain deepened with claims that the tabloid's intrusion into the missing girl's voicemail system may have disrupted the UK police investigation.

The case involves charges that the newspaper's representatives broke into the voicemail of 13-year-old Milly Dowler when she was first reported missing in 2002. She was later murdered by a nightclub doorman.

Lawyer Mark Lewis, representing Dowler's family, said he plans to sue the tabloid, which is at the centre of the long-running scandal that involves widespread hacking into the voicemail systems of celebrities, sports figures and aides working with the royal family.

Distress heaped on tragedy

Lewis said the parents were given hope that their daughter was alive because messages on her phone had been deleted - allegedly by the tabloid's representative.

"It is distress heaped upon tragedy to learn that the News of the World had no humanity at such a terrible time," he said. "The fact that they were prepared to act in such a heinous way that could have jeopardised the police investigation and give them false hope is despicable."

The tabloid's publisher, News International, released a statement on Monday saying the matter is of grave concern and promising to co-operate with investigators. The publishers have already apologised and reached financial settlements in a number of phone hacking cases.

A private investigator and a royal editor who worked for News of the World were jailed in 2007 for tapping the phones of royal household staff. Five more people have been arrested since a fresh police investigation began in January.

  • Badballie - 2011-07-05 14:55

    Why shocked Mr Cameroon, your government uses the Echelon software to actively monitor every cell phone call, SMS, MMS and mobile generated e-mail sent in your country, why shock at someone else doing what your government does on a daily basis??

      ben swart - 2011-07-05 15:29

      Well said!!

      Christopher - 2011-07-05 21:03

      There's a differnce between monitoring, & Hacking, the goverment uses computer softwear to monitor all message true, but key word "Computer" 99% of message would never be seen by goverment officals, the 1% that does trigger an alert, are ones that have keywords what would imply a terriost attack!

  • daaivark - 2011-07-06 09:03

    Tabloids hack phones? NO! But seriously, I can't believe the naivete of Cameron. It's a tabloid, Sir. This is the sort of thing they do. All the time.

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