Huffpost UK uk

Leveson Inquiry: Milly Dowler's Family Arrive At Court To Give Phone Hacking Evidence (Live Updates)

Posted: Updated:

Milly Dowler's parents have given evidence to the press standards inquiry triggered by revelations about the hacking of their murdered daughter's phone.

Sally and Bob Dowler, the first witnesses at the Leveson Inquiry, described their fury when they learned that journalists had listened to and deleted their daughter's voicemail messages.


Sally Dowler described her joyful reaction when she was able to reach her daughter's voicemail, which she thought indicated she might be alive and checking her messages.

Messages from her phone had apparently been deleted by private detective Glenn Mulcaire, working for the News of the World.

"I rang her phone and it clicked through on to her voicemail and I just jumped and said: 'She's picked up her voicemails Bob, she's alive'," Dowler said, raising her voice as she remembered the moment.

"When we heard about the hacking that was the first thing I thought ... I told my friends, 'she's picked up her voicemail, she's picked up her voicemail'."

However Mulcaire later denied hacking into the phone. His solicitor said did not delete the messages and had no reason to do so.

Dowler also spoke about how she first found out that her daughter's phone was hacked during Levi Bellfield's trial for her murder, and said that she didn't sleep for three nights after learning the news.

"It was terribly difficult to process it," she said. "What do you do with that information in your mind?"

The Dowlers also described their anger when photos of a private retracing of their daughter's last steps appeared in a newspaper.

Sally Dowler said she was "really cross" when the photographs were published in the News of the World.

"It was such an intrusion into a private moment of grief," she said.


The couple also described their meeting with News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch after the phone hacking scandal was reported by the Guardian newspaper.

"It was a very tense meeting," Sally Dowler said. "He was very sincere."

Bob Dowler said that the newspapers should reconsider the way they obtain and publish stories in light of the hacking scandal.

"Given the gravity of what became public domain knowledge," he said. "One would sincerely hope that News International and other media organisations would look very carefully at how they procure and obtain information about stories as obviously the ramifications are far greater than just the story in the press."

Inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson thanked the Dowlers for agreeing to give evidence and paid tribute to their loss.

"Can I thank you both for being prepared to come to the inquiry," he said. "You have done so voluntarily and I am very conscious that it is a strain.

"I can only sympathise with both of you for the appalling losses that you have suffered and for the traumas that you have undergone over many years."

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the inquiry in July after it emerged that the Sunday tabloid commissioned private detective Glenn Mulcaire to hack the schoolgirl's phone after she disappeared in 2002.

As well as listening to Milly's voicemails, the investigator also erased some of them to make room for new messages, falsely leading her family to believe she was still alive, the inquiry was told.

David Sherborne, counsel for the Dowlers and other victims of press intrusion, told the inquiry last week that Mrs Dowler felt "euphoria" when she finally got through to her missing daughter's voicemail as a result of Mulcaire's deletions.

"Perhaps there are no words which can adequately describe how despicable this act was," he said.

Mulcaire was jailed along with the News of the World's former royal editor, Clive Goodman, in January 2007 after they admitted intercepting voicemail messages left on phones belonging to royal aides.

Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry will also hear this week from 16 other alleged victims of media intrusion, including actor Hugh Grant, actress Sienna Miller, Harry Potter author JK Rowling and missing Madeleine McCann's father Gerry.

Grant condemned paparazzi for hounding the mother of his baby daughter. Chinese actress Tinglan Hong was recently granted a High Court injunction prohibiting harassment of her and the child.

That's the last of the evidence today. The Inquiry will resume at 10am tomorrow.

Share this:
@ benfenton : A section of press allowed to become toxic over 20 or 30 years, main tactic is bullying. UK needs to find courage to stand up. #leveson

Share this:

Hugh Grant's evidence ends. Waiting to see if more evidence will be given today.

Share this:

Grant keen to protect good journalism, to change libel laws but says it is a 'scandal' how tabloids can prey on vulnerable people.

Share this:
@ benfenton : Last thing anyone wants is to be in a British tabloid paper. It's a myth we need or want the publicity, #hughgrant tells #leveson

Share this:

Grant also rejects tabloids' belief that they're the ones who make films. Grant says no one on the cast of Love, Actually talked to any tabloids but the film was still a massive success.

Share this:

Discussion is concerned with celebs basing their fame on their good name. Grant rejects idea that he's traded on his good name, saying: "I've never had a good name."

Share this:!/jamesro47/status/138649046507196417

Share this:

Grant puts his faith in Leveson to change media practices: "This is the big opportunity in my opinion, this inquiry."

Share this:

The difference between the baby and the bathwater:!/chriscrumble/status/138647715226718209

Share this:

Grant rejects idea that you can't improve press without restricting its freedom and how it's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater and you can't get rid of one without the other: "To most people it's bloody obvious which is the baby and which is the bathwater."

Share this:

Grant also concerned about 'vulnerable people' who may have been victims of trauma; 'collatoral damage' such as relations and friends of Grant; and innocent people who have been 'monstered' by the press such as the parents of Madeleine McCann.

Share this:

Grant has a dig at Amanda Platell, saying her article about him was based on 'lazy reporting'.

Share this:

Grant: "My experience was not a positive one with the PCC [in 1994]. I don't have much faith in them."

Share this:

Grant's comment on US publicists' dilemma with GB:!/willwrite4cake/status/138642749061742592

Share this:

Grant to Jay about Jay being fair to both Grant and Sun journalists: "You've been very fair to News International today. You told me your were going to bowl straight balls. If these are straight, I'd hate to see your googlies."

Share this:
Jay: "You refer to two articles in The Sun." Grant: "Do I? What do I say?"

These two are not really getting along well...

Share this:

Leveson resumes after short break. Robert Jay QC v Hugh Grant Round Two....

Share this:
@ rosschawkins : Hugh Grant at #leveson : Mail paid 125k for pics of mother of his child from ex lover

Share this:

Grant rejects Jay query about how the press got informaiton about his visiting the hospital: "Unless my cousin rang up or the parents of the mother, who speak no English, rang up, then I don't know how the press got the information."

Share this:

Grant was keen to impress on people that he was not a bad father and that Tinglan was not a 'jilted' girlfriend which was why he allowed the statement to be released.

Share this:

"It was not ideal circumstances, I was dressed as a cannibal at the time." Grant talks about how he and his publicist created a press release about the birth of his child whuilst he was filming on location.

Share this:

Discussion about how Tinglan Hong and Grant's baby were surrounded by paparazzi in their house and how baby's grandmother took photographs of paps outside and was then 'menaced' by a pap in car.

Share this:

Grant discloses how he agreed with Tinglan how he would not visit her and his baby at the hospital because of fears over a press storm.

Share this:

Grant talks about police and paps:!/DominicHurst/status/138631776921853952

Share this:

Discussion relating to images of the mother of his baby believes there was a leak from the hospital where Tinglan Hong was staying.

Share this:

Grant talks about when he was told by the police that his phone might have been hacked for the first time. He recognised names and numbers on documents and information relating to stories about him that appeared in the Mirror and the Mail.

Share this:
@ adavies4 : Hugh Grant getting a few laughs now relating his encounter with ex NOTW journo Paul McMullen #Leveson

Share this:

Debate between Inquiry and Grant over whether or not the Daily Mail was involved in phone hacking.

Share this:

The journalist was Paul McMullen who Grant later recorded disclosing more on tabloid tactics but doesn't want the tape to be played at the hearing, commenting: "I don't want to send Paul McMullen to prison."

Share this:

Suggested For You

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

BBC News - Leveson Inquiry: Dowlers and Hugh Grant to appear

Leveson inquiry told hacking of Milly Dowler's phone ... - The Guardian

Leveson inquiry told hacking of Milly Dowler's phone ... - The Guardian

Leveson Inquiry: Milly Dowler's mother 'euphoric' after reaching ...

Leveson inquiry hears shocking new revelations of Milly Dowler phone

Leveson Inquiry: Milly Dowler's Parents To Give Evidence On Phone ...

Leveson Inquiry: Milly Dowler's family and Hugh Grant to give evidence

Leveson inquiry: Lawyer tells of Dowler family's false hope

Slain British girl's family to give phone hacking evidence

Dowlers and Hugh Grant at Leveson inquiry

Leveson Inquiry: as it happened November 14

Milly police phone hack 'likely'

Leveson inquiry likely to hear witnesses' evidence for three months