09/05/2012 07:23 BST | Updated 09/05/2012 07:25 BST

Leveson Inquiry: Milly Dowler's Phone Was Hacked, But It Is Unclear If Journalists Deleted Her Voicemails

The Met police have confirmed that Milly Dowler's phone was hacked after she was murdered but said it was unclear if News of the World journalists had given her family false hope by deleting them.

DCI McDonald from the Metropolitan Police told the Leveson Inquiry it "may never be possible" to know if journalists deleted the murdered girl’s voicemail messages.

Reacting to the news in a statement read out in court, the Dowler family thanked police "for their efforts to get to the bottom of this issue even if there remain a number of unanswered questions".

They added they would "never have wished to be thrust into the middle of this extraordinary scandal" but hoped the police investigations and the Leveson Inquiry would have a positive and "lasting" impact.

Guardian journalist Lisa O'Carroll tweeted a statement from the paper's lawyer, saying "the manual deletion of voicemails was discussed by Bob and Sally Dowler and Met police I'm 2011. [The] guardian error was to report deletions as fact rather than a belief that they were deleted".