Monday, 12 December 2011

The Met, Millie Dowler and Voice Mail (pt2)

This is a follow up to a previous blog post:
Media, Ministers, the Met, Murdoch and Money (1)

The story about Millie Dowlers voice mail deletions didn't make sense, so back in July I blogged about it and sent of an freedom of information request to the Metropolitan Police.

This has finally (about six months on) got to the end of the Mets' request/review procedure, with them refusing to give me any information (or confirming/denying that any relevant information exists).

However the story is back in the news, so here is an update:

After Millie Dowler went missing, her mobile voice mail became full - people leaving messages asking her to call, but not being picked up/deleted.

It was reported that someone working for the News of the World had 'hacked' the voice mail to gather information about the story, it was further reported that this person deleted some of the voice mails so there would be space for new messages that may lead to new stories.

(http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jul/04/milly-dowler-voicemail-hacked-news-of-world)

At this point, Millies mother became aware that messages had been deleted, so took hope that Millie herself had picked them up, and so must be alive. This, unfortunately, was not the case.

(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2064516/Milly-Dowlers-mother-reveals-phone-hacking-gave-false-hope-Leveson-Inquiry.html)

I was surprised that the police had not traced the caller who deleted the message, so put in an FOI request regarding this.

(http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/millie_dowler_voice_mail_deletio)

Subsequently it has transpired that at the time of the voice mail deletions, News of the World had not yet engaged the man responsible for the hacking claims against them - so it was not him who deleted the messages.

(http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3992095/Milly-Dowler-hope-messages-were-not-wiped-by-paper-say-cops.html)

Now it is being suggested that it was the police themselves who caused the messages to be deleted!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2072851/Phone-hacking-Milly-Dowlers-voicemail-messages-deleted-police-News-World.html

I don't think my (refused) FoI request is unreasonable, and a reply would have shed light on this long ago.

So I am left wondering if the Metropolitan police actually have a different, undisclosed, reason for refusing my request and taking so long about it.

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