UK: News International to make �3m pay-out over Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal
UK: Rupert Murdoch is set to donate �1million to charity from his own pocket as part of a multimillion-pound settlement over the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone.
The Dowler family is likely to receive about �2m in a separate pay-out from News International, the publishers of the now-defunct News of the World.
News International has confirmed it is in “advanced negotiations” with relatives of the 13-year-old, who was abducted and killed by Levi Bellfield in 2002.
The firm is reported to have set aside �20m for payments to phone hacking victims, but a source said the size of the expected compensation for the Dowlers reflected the “wholly exceptional circumstances” of their case.
Sources close to the Dowlers have said any agreement will feature a donation to charity. It is not yet known which cause, or causes, would benefit.
A News International spokesman said: “News International confirms it is in advanced negotiations with the Dowler family regarding their compensation settlement.
“No final agreement has yet been reached, but we hope to conclude the discussions as quickly as possible.”
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Claims that Milly’s voicemails were illegally intercepted by a private investigator working for the News of the World after she went missing in 2002 triggered a string of damaging revelations that led to the closure of the News of the World in July.
It emerged that Milly’s voicemail was accessed on behalf of the tabloid while she was missing, and that messages were deleted to make room for more recordings. This gave the family false hope that she was still alive.
Mr Murdoch personally apologised to Milly’s parents Sally and Bob and her sister Gemma when he met them in London in July. Their lawyer Mark Lewis said Mr Murdoch had been left “humbled” by the meeting.
So far 16 people have been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking, with one told they will face no further action.
Former Downing Street communications director Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks are among those questioned by police. Both deny any wrongdoing.