By Nick Davies
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Extra info for Hack Attack: The Inside Story of How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch
Over time, I looked for anybody who had ever had any kind of job at the News of the World, anybody who had ever had any kind of connection to the top of Scotland Yard. I found a second source who had had some access to the material gathered by police in the original inquiry. He echoed the estimate of the number of victims which I had been given by the senior Yard figure at the media function: ‘Two or three thousand,’ he suggested. I went back and looked more closely at the official version of events.
What did Coulson know? What did Les Hinton or even Murdoch know? * * * The key to the door was Gordon Taylor’s legal action. By the summer of 2008, Apollo was telling me that it was not just the police who had been ordered to hand over material. Mark Lewis and his barrister, Jeremy Reed, had also persuaded the judge that the Information Commissioner’s Office must part with some treasure. So, while the police had been told to disclose any relevant material they had seized from Glenn Mulcaire, the ICO had been instructed to disclose the entire record of every job which Steve Whittamore and his network had performed for the News of the World – a big chunk of the material which I had glimpsed but conspicuously failed to obtain when I was researching Flat Earth News.
Both of them ended up in prison, but it was no big deal. The crime they had committed was minor. Their jail sentences were short. The only eye-catching thing about it at the time was that their crime was quite quirky: they had discovered that they could access other people’s voicemail messages and had spent months eavesdropping on three staff at Buckingham Palace. Even so, it was a small story, dead and gone from the public eye within a few days. And yet, I ended up spending more than six years of my working life trying to unravel the bundle of corruption which lay hidden in the background.