News International agrees to pay family in hacking scandal
From left, Bob, Sally and Gemma Dowler, the surviving relatives of a phone hacking victim Milly Dowler, were in settlement talks.
October 21st, 2011
10:54 AM ET

News International agrees to pay family in hacking scandal

News International, publisher of the now-defunct News of the World newspaper in Great Britain, has agreed to pay 2 million British pounds - the equivalent of $3.2 million - to the family of British teen Milly Dowler, who disappeared in 2002 and was later found dead.

Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of chief executive of News Corporation, the parent company of News International, personally apologized to Dowler's family in July amid allegations that News of the World journalists secretly listened to the girl's voicemail after she disappeared.

Dowler, 13, disappeared in 2002 and was later found dead.

"As the founder of the company, I was appalled to find out what happened," Murdoch said after speaking with the family in July.

As part of the settlement, announced Friday by News International and the Dowler family, Murdoch will pay 1 million British pounds - about $1.6 million - to charities chosen by the Dowler family. Those charities "represent causes close to Milly and those that provide support to other victims of crime," a statement from News International and Dowler family sai

Revelations surfaced in July that journalists working for the News of the World at the time of her disappearance had eavesdropped on Dowler's phone, deleting some of her messages to make room for more. The deletion of messages gave the family hope she was still alive when she was already dead.

Public and political outrage in Britain was immediate and intense, and less than a week after the reports surfaced, News International chief executive James Murdoch ordered the closing of News of the World, a best-selling Sunday paper. James Murdoch is the son of Rupert Murdoch.

Previously, News of the World apologized for hacking into the voice mails of celebrities and politicians, paying compensation to actress Sienna Miller and offering money to others. An out-of-court settlement of 700,000 pounds (U.S. $1.2 million) was paid to English soccer executive Gordon Taylor for "illegal voicemail interception."

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Filed under: News of the World • United Kingdom
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Mark

    3.2 Million settlement !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hack my phone please

    October 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • hacker

      Please give your phone number

      October 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emmanuel Goldstien

      You do realize that we would have to kill you first, right?

      October 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      The payout wasn't for the hacking. It was really for the pain and anguish that this family went through when they were given the false hope that their daughter might be alive.

      If you want to go through that to get a multi million payout, you are a sick person.

      October 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pmn

    I read another article which indicated News International had a practice of hacking into people's phones. That is really scary anyone could jeoparadize an investigation of a missing girl. Those people who were accountable should be in jail and News International rightful owes the money to now deceased girl's family. It is without a doubt a violiation of a person's privacy.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. K Walker

    This is the hypocrisy of the United States Federal Government still taking special care, and catering to the wealthy elite.
    Anyone else's company without that kind of cash to payoff the victims, committing as serious of a felony, would have all their property seized, and all involved would serve serious prison sentences.

    $3.2 million is chump change to Murdoch. How does the family know there wasn't a message erased by his company that would have revealed her whereabouts before her murder?

    This is the Federal Government reminding it's citizens that all men are created equal. But some are created more equal than others.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • lcinlc

      ummm...this didn't happen in U.S. get a grip on your facts fleabagger

      October 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • mep

      Um, I believe this happened in Britain, not the US – so I really don't understand what you are ranting on about

      October 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rationalintn

      This family and the hacking took place in Great Britain. What does that have to do with the United States????

      October 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Didn't this happen in England ???? If ,so, then what does the U.S. Gov't have to do with it ???

      "This is the Federal Government reminding it's citizens that all men are created equal" . But they should still go to school and learn to read !!!

      October 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveO

      Oh, but you meant that it could happen in the U.S. right? Jerko

      October 21, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kezza

      You're an idiot... how about you learn how to read?

      October 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jboHDrider

      Interesting how everyone wants to bash the USA...This hacking thing was in Briton and had nothing to do with the USA. Do you always make idiotic comments without reading the article?

      October 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dadoffour

      K Walker is one of those Americans who can't point out where Mexico is in North America. If its not in his own red-neck backwater rural town, it just somewhere else in America.

      October 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElisabethinCA

      Wait....are you really blaming Obama for something that happened in Great Britain??? Seriously? Now that is a stretch. But if it makes you feel better to blame the world’s problems on our president go ahead. Because you’re right..he hasn't done 1 thing right, and Bush for 8 years did everything right..I mean all you people say all the time is Obama hasn't done a let's give credit where credit is due. I completely agree with you that they only reason the country is the way it is right now, is because of Bush and his ilk. Because remember...Obama didn't do let's give Bush a hand for the wonderful condition he left our country in...oh wait...uh...ok this is a little awkward......

      October 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MyOpinionH

    It does not matter if they listened to her voicemail. She was dead and was going to listen to it. There is no justification for having to pay out 3.2 million dollars to her family. Its ridiculous.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joanne

      It made the investigators think she was checking her phone when she was dead. It mislead the investigation.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • mep

      you are definitely missing the point. the newspaper didn't know she was dead at the time. Really, pay attention to what is written.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rationalintn

      So it's ok with you when a corporation hacks into a person's phone? And it's ok with you when a corporation hacks into the phone of a missing child for monetary gain? Might be time to raise your standards and require moral, ethical, and legal behavior of corporations, especially "news" organizations.

      October 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      You're totally missing the point. The payout is because the family was misled into thinking that their daughter might have been alive by the actions of having her voicemail deleted.

      Much pain and anguish was needlessly caused in the pursuit of a story. GIven the number of newspapers this story has sold, the payout should have been MUCH higher.

      October 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElisabethinCA

      Really? You think this is about them deleting messages that a dead teen would never listen to? You’re a sick person. This family went through HELL thinking their kidnapped, missing daughter was alive and deleting her own messages. This news organization deleted messages that could have been pertinent to the investigation. They TAMPERED with evidence. These poor people’s daughter was MURDERED. But they have a lot more class than you will ever have. The agreement was that the majority of the money is going to charity...the family isn't keeping it. But so what if they were? After what that news organization put them through, again just so you understand, "with their MURDERED daughter" they deserve every penny and if they wanted to keep it good for them. But great for them they are doing something positive with the money. Your callous, reckless words "she’s dead and isn't going to listen to the messages anyway" says everything about your character. Yuck.

      October 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bezerkur

    i remember when news was just news. listen to some old archives of broadcasts before cable and compare the difference. CNN was the same way when it first started. i realize technology has changed but why has the reporting?

    October 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Antonio M

    RIGHT ON BOND, JAMES!!! The crime may not have been committed by him but he should know what his folks are doing at his company. Many super rich folkds think they can just do any and everything and it's okay. ONCE AGAIN, RIGHT ON MR. JAMES BOND!

    October 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jim

    Murdoch is sc u m

    October 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
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