Friday 29 July 2011

new team of officers is set to investigate claims of computer hacking, the Metropolitan Police has announced.

new team of officers is set to investigate claims of computer hacking, the Metropolitan Police has announced.

It will consider breach of privacy allegations received since January.

It comes as the private investigator at the centre of phone-hacking allegations, Glenn Mulcaire, says he "acted on the instructions of others".

And the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne said she was "very distressed" after being told she may have been phone hacked by Mulcaire.

Scotland Yard said the new team will investigate matters not covered by its phone-hacking inquiry, Operation Weeting, and report to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers.

A spokesman said there had previously been a "consideration of allegations" of computer hacking rather than an investigation, but now "some aspects of that operation are being moved towards investigation".

On Friday, Glenn Mulcaire's legal team said any suggestion he acted unilaterally for the News of the World newspaper was "untrue".

Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 after admitting to phone hacking while he was working for the paper.

In a statement they said: "As an employee he [Mulcaire] acted on the instructions of others.

"There were also occasions when he understood his instructions were from those who genuinely wished to assist in solving crimes.

"Any suggestion that he acted in such matters unilaterally is untrue. In the light of the ongoing police investigation, he cannot say any more."

A man appeared in court and admitted throwing a foam pie at Rupert Murdoch as he gave evidence to a committee of MPs
Conservative MP Louise Mensch apologised to former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan for accusing him of "boasting" about hacking phones
Speaking for the first time on Friday evening, Ms Payne spoke of her distress but said she still had faith in those who had supported her.

"I am, as you can imagine, very distressed and upset by the news that my details have been found on Mulcaire's list and would like to thank everyone for their kind words of support," she said in a statement.

"I can confirm reports that I was given a phone by the campaign team and that my voicemail was only activated after my first aneurysm.

"Notwithstanding the bad apples involved here, my faith remains solidly behind all the good people who have supported me over the last 11 years. I will never lose my faith in them."

'Deeply concerned'
The then-editor Rebekah Brooks said it was "unthinkable" anyone at the paper knew.

Mrs Brooks said Ms Payne had become a "dear friend" during the News of the World's campaign for Sarah's Law.

"The idea that anyone on the newspaper knew that Sara or the campaign team were targeted by Mr Mulcaire is unthinkable," she said in a statement on Thursday.

"It is imperative for Sara and the other victims of crime that these allegations are investigated and those culpable brought to justice."

News International has said it "takes this matter very seriously and is deeply concerned like everyone".

Prime Minister David Cameron described the hacking scandal as "shocking in terms of the dreadful things that have happened".

There have also been allegations that the News of the World accessed the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of victims of the 7/7 terrorist attacks and families of killed British soldiers.

Meanwhile, staff at the New York Post, also owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, have been told to save any information relating to phone hacking or bribery of government officials.

The paper's editor Col Allan told staff the advice was in light of the NoW allegations and "not because any recipient has done anything improper or unlawful".