Hugh Grant makes new claims at hacking inquiry

Monday 21 November 2011 22.08
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Hugh Grant says that phone-hacking was used by Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mirror
Hugh Grant says that phone-hacking was used by Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mirror
Bob and Sally Dowler arrived with their solicitor to give evidence
Bob and Sally Dowler arrived with their solicitor to give evidence

British actor Hugh Grant has accused several newspapers - other than those owned by Rupert Murdoch - of invading his privacy in his testimony to the Leveson phone-hacking inquiry.

The 51-year-old said he also believed that a break-in at his flat may have been linked to the press after details of the interior appeared in a newspaper.

Mr Grant said the Mail on Sunday newspaper ran a story on his relationship with socialite Jemima Khan in 2007 that mentioned his conversations with a "plummy voiced" woman. He said he later won damages for libel.

"I'd love to hear what their source was if it wasn't phone hacking," Mr Grant told the inquiry, to which he was sworn in on oath.

He also accused another tabloid, the Daily Mirror, of accessing his medical records.

The Mail on Sunday is owned by Associated Newspapers and the Mirror is owned by Trinity Mirror.

Neither is owned by Murdoch's US-based News Corporation, where the phone-hacking scandal first emerged in the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

Mr Grant added that he was suspicious after a break-in at his flat in London in 1995, shortly after he was arrested in Los Angeles with a prostitute.

He said nothing was stolen in the burglary and that a full description of the inside of the property later appeared in a newspaper, although he said he could not remember which.

Prime Minister David Cameron launched the judge-led inquiry in July after the full scale of hacking at the News of the World emerged, including that it had hacked a murdered schoolgirl's voicemails.

Dowlers given 'false hope'

The parents of the girl, Milly Dowler, testified to the inquiry earlier that some of those voicemails were erased, giving them false hope that she was alive.

Sally Dowler described how she told her husband "She's picked up her voicemails Bob, she's alive!" after an investigator working for the tabloid erased some of the 13-year-old's voicemails following her disappearance.

The Dowlers sat beside Mr Grant at the hearing, before taking the stand and telling the inquiry that after Milly went missing in March 2002 they initially checked her voicemails "all the time".

At first, a recorded message left by their daughter before her disappearance would come up, but the voicemail box soon became full and an automatic message would play instead, Sally Dowler said.

But one day, she added, her voice rising with emotion: "I rang her phone and it went on to her voicemail. So I heard her voice, and it was just like I jumped, 'She's picked up her voicemails Bob, she's alive!'"

"I told my friends, 'she's picked up her voicemail, she's picked up her voicemail'."

In fact, Milly had been abducted and was later found murdered. British serial killer Levi Bellfield was convicted of her murder in June this year.

As well as listening to Milly's voicemails, the News of the World's private detective Glenn Mulcaire erased some messages to make room for new ones.

Mulcaire was jailed along with the News of the World's former royal editor Clive Goodman in January 2007 after they admitted intercepting voicemail messages left on phones belonging to royal aides.