Published on 6 Jul 2011 Sections

Phone hackers ‘targeted 7/7 families’

“Several” bereaved family members of 7/7 bombing victims are told by police that they may have been targeted by phone hackers from the News of the World, as MPs prepare to debate the scandal.

Aftermath of 7/7 (Reuters)

The allegations that several bereaved family members had their mobile phone messages intercepted by a private investigator employed by News of the World, put further pressure on the title’s owner News International.

It comes after police confirmed that the parents of murdered Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were contacted by officers on the News of the World hacking inquiry. On Monday allegations emerged that the phone of murder victim Milly Dowler had been hacked.

Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by the Sunday tabloid who is alleged to have illegally accessed Milly’s voicemail messages after she went missing, has apologised for any hurt he caused.

The publishers of the News of the World have said they are “very close” to discovering who commissioned the alleged hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone.

News International executives have uncovered evidence about who allegedly asked private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to illegally access the murdered schoolgirl’s voicemail messages after she went missing in 2002.

Graham Foulkes, whose 22-year-old son David was among the 52 people killed in the terrorist attacks on London on 7 July 2005, was among those warned by a senior detective that they featured on a list of potential hacking victims.

He told BBC News channel that the thought of someone listening in to his phone calls was “just horrendous”.

Sean Cassidy – who lost his 22-year-old son Ciaran in the Russell Square tube bombing – has also reportedly told the BBC he was contacted by police about the phone hacking allegations.

News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks is likely to face renewed calls for her resignation at today’s three-hour emergency Commons session, when MPs will consider whether there should be a public inquiry into the saga.

Read more: News of the World targets Met Police detective
On Tuesday Channel 4 News exclusively revealed that a Metropolitan Police detective was put under surveillance by News of the World journalists and that his personal details were targeted.

The surveillance operation came during a crucial murder investigation which implicated private investigators who had alleged links to News International.

Channel 4 News understands Rebekah Brooks, then editor of the News of the World, was informed of the allegations by Scotland Yard at the time.

Ms Brooks has pledged her “full co-operation” with the police inquiry into the claims, which date back to her time as the paper’s editor.

She said she was “sickened” by the allegations and promised the “strongest possible action” against those responsible.

Amid calls for a public inquiry into the hacking scandal, Downing Street insisted that the “absolute priority” had to be the ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation, codenamed Operation Weeting.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has not ruled out ministers ordering a public inquiry at a future date.

“If there are wider issues which need to be looked at once the police investigation is complete, of course we can return to that,” he said.