|What is unacceptable?|
On 21 March 2002, Milly Dowler, aged 13, disappeared on her way home from school.
My daughter, at that time, was ten; small and blond... she looked very like Milly.
After Milly's disappearance, we bought her a phone, and freaked out everytime she was more than five minutes late.
A month after Milly's killer was finally brought to justice, The Guardian newspaper ran a shocking report about her disappearance.
Phone-tapping by journalists has made news before. Unreal? Sadly not.
Amongst the newspapers keen to report on Milly’s disappearance was the News of the World; their journalists targeted the missing schoolgirl's family. They illegally intercepted her phone messages.
The family lawyer describes the News of the World's activities as "heinous" and "despicable".
Journalists hacked into her messages. Awful. They didn’t stop there.
Scotland Yard is investigating evidence that the paper hacked into Milly’s voicemail and as her friends and parents called and left messages begging Milly to get in touch with them, the News of the World listened and recorded every word.
Although that was a terrible invasion of privacy, they didn’t stop there.
When Milly's voicemail box filled up it wouldn’t accept any more messages. The News of the World deleted the messages that had been left in the first few days after her disappearance.
This was sickening but they didn’t stop there.
When the Police realised the messages had been deleted, Milly’s friends and relatives were given false hope; they believed she might still be alive.
This was agonisingly awful, but the News of the World didn’t stop there.
When the Dowler family granted an exclusive interview it was to the News of the World.
Sally Dowler, reported that Milly’s messages had been deleted so she might be alive. The tearful Mum told the journalist: "If Milly walked through the door, I don't think we'd be able to speak. We'd just weep tears of joy and give her a great big hug."
Listening to the Dowler’s when they explained what gave them hope and reporting it in the newspaper was heinous.
The newspaper had destroyed evidence and confused the Police investigation.
The Dowler family will be pursuing a claim against the News of the World I hope they use the same ruthless, callous determination they learned at the hands of the paper itself.
I planned a cheerful Happy Canada Day and Independence Day blog post but now my thoughts are with the Dowler's and other families who have been affected by such a terrible loss.