EXCLUSIVE: News of the World and the ‘hacking’ of Danielle Jones

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 14, 2011

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, Tories! Tories! Tories!

This entry was posted on
Thursday, July 14th, 2011
10:33 am and is filed
under Old Media, Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch, Tories! Tories! Tories!.

Yesterday, the Telegraph published a database of News of the World articles relating to phone/text messages, including the Dowler article I blogged about yesterday morning. Like me, they’ve been doing some research at the British Newspaper Library in Colindale, and I applaud their efforts, but their collection is short one vital article, which enters the public domain this morning for the first time since it was originally published by News of the World on July 15, 2001.

Before you read this article (in the scan/graphic below), I ask that you consider the following:

1. Rebekah Wade/Brooks and Andy Coulson have repeatedly sought to shelter themselves behind a denial that they were not aware of what was going on in their own newsroom. As so many of the smoking guns have been relatively minor/diary pieces in the back pages, this tactic has been largely successful, if a little pyrrhic (i.e. leaving Wade/Brooks and Coulson in a position where they are merely incompetent as far as anybody knows, and not corrupt).

2. Scotland Yard confirm that Danielle Jones’ name and/or other details are included in relevant evidence held by police. This is just one published source:

The investigation into the death of Essex teenager Danielle Jones could be re-examined after the inquiry into the voicemail hacking scandal found that mobile phones linked to her may have been targeted by a private investigator working for the News of the World…. (Chris Bryant) told the Commons yesterday that evidence suggesting Danielle’s phone and others linked to her were targeted by Mulcaire had been discovered by Operation Weeting, the inquiry into phone hacking. Police sources confirmed details of the phones had been found and said the information was being assessed for potential impact on the original murder investigation. – Independent, 7 July 2011

Which leads us neatly to…

3. The prosecution of the killer of Danielle Jones relied a great deal on evidence involving falsified text messages sent from Danielle’s phone by the murderer (context). If staff from News of the World are found to have compromised or undermined this evidence in any way, it could conceivably lead to a challenge against the relevant conviction.

Now, take a look at the scan of the original article (below), which (a) dominated Page 11 of the newspaper, (b) is clearly based on text messages sent to Danielle Jones’ phone, (c) makes that same point ab-so-lute-ly clear in a headline that you would have to blind – or on holiday – to miss, and (d) appears to actually express disappointment that police would not allow the release of further/outgoing messages!

It is also hard to see what ‘public interest’ defence exists for the publication of these texts. It appears to me to be an entirely emotional element that served no other purpose beyond sensationalising an already traumatic event.

We are expected to believe that editors were not aware of any of this, before or after publication. This is a claim I reject, especially now that I have seen this evidence. It is also highly unlikely that Essex Police failed to raise the issue of the sensitivity of text messages with editors, because their concerns about the importance of text messages as evidence are right there in the article approved for publication.

Rebekah Wade/Brooks and/or Andy Coulson cannot have been unaware of this published article, or its origins, or of the dangerous implications. If they were given no specific warning about the use and potential consequences of ‘hacking’ by Essex Police, then serious questions need to be asked about their competence.

[Click here if you would like to fund more independent research into this story and associated tabloid shenanigans.]

Danielle Jones article in News of the World, 16 July 2002


  1. John lynch says

    Very interesting – if not particularly surprising. Did Brooks seriously expect us to believe that she had no idea of what was going on in her own newsroom. Of course she knew – but she has lied about that repeatedly and now she has been caught in that lie.

  2. Chris says

    Hi Quick Q. is it possible to get texts by hacking? I'm not sure that's the case… and therefore whether this is a smokin' gun…

    • Tim_Ireland says

      Short answer: Mulcaire appears to have been involved in the illicit interception of voice *and* text messages, including Prince William's in the case that Goodman went down for

      • yorksranter says

        Long answer: if, as the NYT says, they could get GSM location from a corrupt cop, that cop had access to the MNOs' lawful intercept interfaces (built into every GSM and UMTS system as standard). From which you can log and intercept any and all network activity to or from a given phone number. I see no reason not to assume they weren't also listening in on calls.

        • rob says

          Does anyone know why Tom Alexander recently suddenly resigned as CEO from Orange (as predicted by a former NOTW staff member on Twitter) ?

  3. Tosh says

    The byline on that article is Peter Rose. Rose has since died. Here is an obituary: http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?storycode

    "His scoops during his time at the Mail from 1987 to 2000 included stories about the Fred West murders, the notorious Hanratty murder case in 1961, and Myra Hindley's failed bid to be released from prison. It is said he knew about Jill Dando's murder even before Scotland Yard chiefs had been informed and he also broke stories about the hunt for fugitive M25 killer, Kenny Noye, and the murders of Lin and Megan Russell in Kent."

    "Tim Godwin, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Pete was an important figure in the world of crime reporting. A determined and tenacious reporter, he was also a real character. He fully understood the importance of good relationships between the police and media. I’m sure there are many members of the Met who knew and worked with Pete who will be saddened by this news."

    Stephen Wright, crime editor at the Daily Mail who was Rose's deputy for five years, said: "Pete was the 'copper's crime reporter'. His success was based on his integrity, principles and trustworthiness. He played the long game on stories and never got carried away with his success."

    Where do we see Tim Godwin turn up again?
    "Appearing before the Metropolitan Police Authority, Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin defended the force's handling of the case so far.

    On Wednesday the Met said it had received "significant new information".

    There has been criticism of Scotland Yard's handling of the case from figures including Lord Prescott.

    The Met has been accused of failing to inform many of the alleged victims of phone hacking when they recovered files that referred to a long list of public figures.

    Speaking about the investigation, Acting Commissioner Godwin told the panel: "It will be very robust and it will be under scrutiny as it should be.

    "It will restore confidence in victims who feel they have not been given a service. It will be with no stone unturned. We have some of the most skilled investigators in the country and you will be proud of what they do."

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