Phone hacking targets run into thousandsby Gordon Rayner, telegraph.co.uk
February 10th 2011
Until now, police have refused to disclose the identities of up to 3,000 public figures, including actors and politicians, whose names were found in notes seized from a private detective who was jailed in 2007 for his part in the phone hacking scandal.
In a significant change of tack, Scotland Yard has confirmed that all of the people whose names appear on the list will now be informed, which could lead to a flood of costly compensation claims against the newspaper.
The Metropolitan Police also said some people who had previously been told they were not victims of phone hacking would be contacted "urgently" to be told they may in fact have been targets.
John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, said he had already been visited by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, the officer leading the new investigation.
He said he was told that invoices unearthed by officers indicated that he was a target of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by the newspaper.
Mr Prescott said: "This proves my long-held belief that the original Met police investigation into Mulcaire and News International was completely inadequate."
DAC Akers yesterday announced that she had personally contacted other potential victims of hacking.
The development is likely to add to criticism of the force's original investigation in 2005, after accusations that it failed to pursue the evidence with sufficient rigour.
The Met started a fresh investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World after it was handed new evidence by the newspaper last month.
DAC Akers added: "In time... we will make contact with everyone who had some of their personal contact details found in the documents seized in 2005.
"This will ensure all of those who have been affected in some way are made aware of the information we have found relating to them."
A source close to the inquiry said there was no direct evidence to prove that the phones of most of the people on the list had been hacked, but by informing them that their names were on the list, it would give them the chance to tell police of any suspicions they had.
Up to 3,000 names and contact details were found in notes kept by Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who hacked phones on behalf of Clive Goodman, the News of the World's former royal editor, who was also jailed in 2007.
The News of the World has already settled civil claims running into millions of pounds after being sued by phone hacking victims including Max Clifford, the publicist, and Gordon Taylor, the former head of the Professional Footballers' Association.
It is understood the newspaper had been told it could face further claims running into tens of millions of pounds, even before the latest development.
Among those who have said they believe their phones were hacked, and who will now be waiting for a possible call from the Met, are the politicians Gordon Brown and George Galloway. Other names on Mr Mulcaire's list are reported to include Nigella Lawson, the chef, and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.
Last month, Ian Edmondson, the News of the World's assistant editor, was sacked after emails were discovered that allegedly showed he was aware of the phone hacking. His former boss Andy Coulson resigned from his job as Downing Street's head of communications following renewed questions about his role as the newspaper's editor.
He has repeatedly denied any knowledge of hacking when he was the newspaper’s editor.
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