The mother of a murdered and abused British schoolgirl is the latest high-profile target of phone hacking by now-defunct UK tabloid News of the World to be uncovered by Operation Weeting.
Eight-year-old Sarah Payne was murdered by a paedophile in 2000. Sarah’s mother, Sara Payne, became a good friend of former NotW editor Rebekah Brooks and maintained a very close relationship with the paper as it campaigned with her on child abuse issues. Sara even wrote a column in the final NotW edition, calling the paper “an old friend”.
Sara’s mobile phone had been given to her by Rebekah Brooks and had been paid for by the paper for the past 11 years. After initially being told her phone had not been hacked, Scotland Yard revealed that her details had been found in the 11,000 pages of documents kept by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
Brooks released a statement calling the news “abhorrent”, particularly since Sara was a “dear friend,” reports The Guardian.
“The idea that anyone on the newspaper knew that Sara or the campaign team were targeted by Mr Mulcaire is unthinkable. The idea of her being targeted is beyond my comprehension,” said Brooks.
The Guardian and Downing Street are currently embroiled in a tit-for-tat as it emerged former NotW editor and ex-communications chief for PM David Cameron, Andy Coulson, was not vetted as closely as his predecessors — and successors — were. The Guardian sent in 14 questions to be asked by the PM and the non-answers — as well as The Guardian’s follow-up responses — can be found here.
Meanwhile, News Corporation is attempting to offer other News jobs for journalists and staff left unemployed by the NotW closure.Although 150 of the 283 staff were journalists, only a small portion of jobs being offered are editorial. Instead, many are in out-of-the-way destinations such as Siberia.
Former NotW staff — about 40 senior executives and journalists — are looking to launch a class action against News International claiming they are now “stigmatised” for job opportunities due to the actions of NotW.
What, a non-editorial job in Siberia isn’t what they were looking for?