22 Nov 2011

Murdered girl's mother testifies at hacking inquiry

9:05 am on 22 November 2011

The mother of a murdered schoolgirl has told a British inquiry of her emotions on discovering that her daughter's mobile phone messages were hacked into on behalf of a tabloid newspaper.

Sally Dowler said the intrusion had led her to believe her daughter, Milly Dowler, 13, was still alive in March 2002 because she thought she was picking up her voicemail.

It was nine years later during the trial of their daughter's killer that they were told by police her phone had been hacked.

Mrs Dowler said she couldn't sleep for three nights because she was replaying everything in her mind.

She and her husband Bob also described how they were secretly photographed as they privately reconstructed Milly's last walk, seven weeks after she disappeared.

"That Sunday, that photo appeared in the News of the World,'' Mrs Dowler said.

''They had obviously taken the photo with some sort of telephoto lens. How on earth did they know we were doing the walk on that day?''

The disclosure in July of phone hacking by the News of the World led to the closure of the newspaper.

Actor Hugh Grant also gave evidence to the inquiry on Monday. Other high profile persons will do so this week.

Grant also said he thought that the Mail on Sunday may have hacked his phone.

It is the first time he has linked a newspaper not owned by News Corporation to the practice.