Previously I wrote a post entitled In a World of Trouble about the phone-tap investigation implying very little might change. That was before today where we’ve learnt from The Guardian that the News of the World hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, the 13 year old girl murdered in 2002. They not only listened to the messages but also deleted some to cover their tracks. That the messages were deleted indicated to the police at the time Milly could still have been alive, altering the timeline and compromising the investigation. Its not only illegal but fundamentally immoral.
The extent of the phone-tap investigation is now difficult to quantify. It will certainly get more serious and would likely lead to charges of obstructing a murder investigation. Previously only Andy Coulson and his editors were implicated but now the hacking stretches back to at least 2002 and involves the editor at the time Rebekah Brooks, now the chief executive of News International (and incidentally Ross Kemp’s old wife!).
News International is again insisting it is assisting the police in their inquires. Before this, NoW had successfully managed the crisis, giving when it was convenient and paying out of court settlements. Now its a criminal investigation and the stakes are far higher. You can’t buy your way out of it. How its readers will react is the ultimate barometer of disgust. This could just turn the tide. The other papers won’t let this lie easily, And nor should we.