LONDON Nov 5 A senior executive from Rupert
Murdoch's News of the World told British police hunting for a
missing schoolgirl in 2002 that journalists on his paper had
recordings of voicemail messages taken from her phone, London's
phone-hacking trial was told on Tuesday.
Stuart Kuttner, then managing editor of the tabloid, sent an
email to Surrey Police investigating the disappearance of Milly
Dowler, who was later found murdered, saying they had details of
her voicemails and then ran a story quoting them, the
Kuttner is on trial accused of conspiracy to illegally
access voicemails on mobile phones alongside former editors
Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, who both have close links to
Prime Minister David Cameron. They deny the charges.
The Old Bailey court has been told that Glenn Mulcaire, a
private eye who worked for the now defunct News of the World,
had admitted hacking Dowler's phone.
The jury has also been told three journalists from the paper
have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hack phones.
News of the Dowler hacking in the summer of 2011 caused a
"media firestorm" to engulf News International, the British
newspaper arm of Murdoch's News Corp, and led to the
closure of the 168-year-old paper, the court has heard.
On Tuesday, the prosecution gave a timeline of events
surrounding the hacking of Dowler's phone after the 13-year-old
went missing on her way back from school in March 2002.
The court heard that on April 13, Kuttner contacted Surrey
Police to say the News of the World had possession of recordings
of her voicemail messages. When a detective questioned him about
details, Kuttner said the paper had got Dowler's phone details
from school friends.
Later that day, the paper, which was being edited by the
then deputy editor Coulson while Brooks was on holiday in Dubai,
ran an article which directly quoted from one of the messages.
However the second edition of the paper featured a story
without details of hacked message which the prosecution argue
followed contact between Brooks and Coulson.
Jonathan Laidlaw, Brooks's lawyer, pointed out that there
was no direct telephone contact between her and the newspaper on
April 13 between the two editions of the paper.
Under cross-examination, Det Sgt Greg Smith said police
could also not be certain when exactly Brooks was using her
phone because it was not clear if records showed British or
Brooks and Coulson also deny charges of authorising illegal
payments to public officials, and Brooks and her husband Charlie
are also accused of perverting the course of justice by
hindering the police investigation.
Four other former News International figures also deny
charges and the trial is expected to last six months.