A phone-hacking scandal that has plagued the British tabloid News of the World has taken another turn, with the Guardian now reporting that journalists working for the tabloid hacked into the voicemail of a 13-year-old girl who was killed in 2002. According to the Guardian, shortly after Milly Dowler disappeared, the tabloid (with the help of its full-time private investigator) started to intercept her mobile phone voicemail. “As her friends and parents called and left messages imploring Milly to get in touch with them, the News of the World was listening and recording their every private word,” the Guardian reports. Then, when the voicemail filled up, journalists deleted messages that had been left in the first few days after Dowler had disappeared. This gave her family false hope that she had cleared out her voicemail and was alive, and it confused the police investigation, reports the Guardian. “The Dowler family then granted an exclusive interview to the News of the World in which they talked about their hope, quite unaware that it had been falsely kindled by the newspaper’s own intervention.”
Who knew: If the hacking allegations prove true, The New York Times notes, it would mean that former editor Rebekah Brooks either “had no idea how the paper she edited was obtaining information about the Dowler family for its articles, or that she knew about the hacking and allowed it.” Brooks says she didn’t know about the hacking.