News International executive Richard Caseby has struck back at the Guardian, demanding the newspaper corrects 26 articles in which it alleged that the News of the World was responsible for deleting murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's voicemails.
Caseby, managing editor of The Sun, personally attacked the Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger in a forceful letter requesting print and online corrections.
Caseby challenged Rusbridger to "clean up his own stable" before "lecturing the rest of the newspaper industry on journalistic ethics".
He went on to accuse Rusbridger of having "a destructive agenda against the entire popular press", demonstrated by the "regularity by which he publishes false stories about the NoW and The Sun".
The allegation of the Dowler messages first appeared in the Guardian and were pivotal in bringing Britain's most popular tabloid to its knees, resulting in its sudden closure this summer.
The Leveson Inquiry heard from a Scotland Yard lawyer last week that it was unlikely that a News of the World journalist was responsible. It was 'most likely' that the messages were in fact deleted automatically.
A Guardian spokeswoman insisted that they were already tackling The Sun's demands: "We have already promptly footnoted a number of articles and are considering a number of others".
She also insisted that Rusbridger "does not hold the views about popular journalism ascribed to him by Mr Caseby".
The Guardian has already had to apologise to The Sun for mis-reporting that the tabloid hacked into the son of Gordon Brown's medical records.