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UK phone hacking goes beyond NOTW

Press Trust of India
Nov 21, 2011 at 11:44pm IST

London: The phone-hacking story on Monday went beyond titles owned by Rupert Murdoch's News International with celebrity actor Hugh Grant alleging that the Mail on Sunday tabloid may have hacked his phone for information to be used in sensational stories.

Deposing before the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, ethics and practices of the British press, Grant said he could not think of any other way it could have got its story in 2007 about his conversations with a "plummy voiced" woman.

This is the first time Grant has accused a non-Murdoch title of phone-hacking.

UK phone hacking goes beyond NOTW

This is the first time celebrity actor Hugh Grant has accused a non-Murdoch title of phone-hacking.

Earlier in the day, Sally Dowler, mother of the murdered teenager whose phone was allegedly hacked by Murdoch s News of the World, described her and her family's pain when it was revealed that the teenager's phone was hacked.

Milly Dowler was missing for several days before it was revealed that she had been murdered in 2002.

During this time, her phone was allegedly hacked at the behest of the News of the World for information to be used in news stories about the case which was being widely covered in the news media.

Unknown to the family, when the phone was hacked and earlier messages left in the voicemail were deleted to make way for new ones that were supposed to be later accessed by the private investigator, Sally said the deletion of messages gave hope to the family that Milly was alive.

Sally told the Leveson inquiry that she did not sleep for three days after discovering her daughter's phone was hacked.

Describing the moment she accessed the previously-full voicemail, she said: "I just jumped and said: 'She's picked up her voicemails…she's alive'."

The article about Grant in Mail on Sunday was challenged by the actor in court, and had won damages.

It claimed that his relationship with Jemima Khan was on the rocks because of his late night calls with a "plummy voiced" studio executive from Warner Brothers.

He said: "It was a bizarre story and completely untrue. Thinking about how they could possibly come up with such a bizarre, left-field story.

I realised there was a great friend of mine in Los Angeles whose assistant is a charming, married middle-aged lady, who is the person who rings you instead of the executive.

Grant, who has sued tabloids in the past over stories about him, added: "I cannot for the life of me think of any conceivable source for this story in the Mail on Sunday other than the voicemails that were on my mobile telephone."

However, counsel to the inquiry, Robert Jay, said Grant's claims were "pure speculation".

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