The Leveson inquiry into the UK print media has taken an unusual turn with the revelation that one of the centrepieces of the whole phone-hacking affair -- the wiping of messages from murdered teenager Milly Dowler's phone -- was almost certainly not done by News of the World employees, as had been alleged.

The allegations concerning NotW journalists, and private detective Glenn Mulcaire, were made by Guardian journalist Nick Davies, as part of the long investigation of the phone-hacking affair. The suggestion that repeated hacking of Milly Dowler's voicemail had deleted two old messages, and thus given her parents hope that she might be alive, was the catalyst for a whole chain of events -- a grovelling apology by Rupert Murdoch, and the negotiation of a huge out-of-court settlement with the Dowlers, and the closure of News Corporation's News of the World, the UK's biggest-selling newspaper.