Murdoch's Hackergate Scandal The Plot Widens
The persistent claim by Scotland Yard that its evidence showed that only one reporter at Rupert Murdoch's Sunday tabloid News of the World , working with a private detective, had engaged in hacking the voicemails of British celebrities and politicians appeared to fall apart Thursday when it was disclosed that the police agency had handed over new evidence of hacking that it previously had claimed did not exist. A lawyer for Kelly Hoppen, who was the subject of articles in another Murdoch newspaper, the Daily Mail, about affairs with film director Guy Ritchie and England soccer star Sol Campbell, told a London court that his client had been contacted by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers who disclosed that the notes of a private detective who was convicted in the earlier hacking case revealed that he had accessed her mobile phone number and the PIN code needed to listen to her voicemail. That information presumably found its way to a feature writer for the Mail . Previously police had twice denied that it had evidence that Hoppen's voicemail had been hacked. (Akers is heading a new investigation of the hacking charges.) The latest evidence, said the lawyer, David Sherbourne, "drives a coach and horses through the claim that ... the criminal activities ... were the isolated actions of one rogue journalist and his private investigator associate." Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that Hoppen, who suspected that her voicemails were the source of the Mail 's articles about her relationships with Ritchie and Campbell, subsequently obtained evidence from the mobile phone company Vodaphone that her phone had been accessed twice via another cellphone registered to News International in the name of Daily Mail feature writer Dan Evans. An attorney for Evans said that the writer had dialed Hoppen's phone accidentally when the keys on his own phone became stuck. Last week it was disclosed that thousands of numbers of celebrities and their PIN codes had been obtained by the private detective and turned over to editors at News International, the umbrella company that oversees Murdoch's London print and TV news outlets.