Bellingcat

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Milly Dowler Hacking - Part 2: Discrepancies And Delays

Part 1 provided contexts up until just after Milly Dowler's disappearance.  Part 2 looks at when evidence and suspicions of NotW hackings could - perhaps should - have been unearthed.

May 02  Seven weeks after her disappearance, Bob and Sally Dowler were stalked by NotW whilst they quietly re-traced missing Milly's last known steps. Their 'grief walk' became a major story in NotW, with surveillance photo.  Sally told her police Family Liaison Officer that NotW could only have found out their plans from their phone conversation or a police source.

SURREY Police therefore had an opportunity to connect their knowledge of NotW phone hacking and suspicions that it was still continuing, with Milly's parents as targeted victims.  Adjoining force, Sussex Police, were requested to start a review of the SURREY Dowler enquiry. It is not known if SURREY's knowledge of NotW hacking was disclosed to Sussex officers.  Another missed opportunity.

16th July 02  A major discrepancy here.  According to a SURREY Police statement in 2012 (page 13), this date was when NotW met with SURREY Police detectives Craig DENHOLM and Stuart GIBSON of the Miller Dowler investigation team.  This contradicts The Independent's report  (also cited in Part 1) that two face-to-face meetings had taken place weeks before, in April. The July 16th timing is debatable however as Stuart GIBSON had already been replaced on the Dowler investigation in late June.

Aug 02  The Soham murders, Cambridgeshire.  In 2011, the victims' parents were informed by police that their phone numbers had been found in Glenn MULCAIRE's notebooks.

Sept 02  Milly Dowler's body found.

Nov 02  Devon and Cornwall Police's Operation REPROOF planned with ICO their first raid on suspect premises.  As per good practice REPROOF informed, liaised with and secured necessary support from the relevant geographical constabulary - SURREY Police.  REPROOF and ICO then raided the business premises (Guildford, SURREY) and home (Caterham, SURREY) of John BOYALL. As a result of material seized, ICO commenced OPERATION MOTORMAN, their investigation into widespread data offences.

Mar 03  Raid on Steve WHITTAMORE's Hampshire home and the business premises of 'JJ Services' , registered address Sutton, SURREY - on the SURREY/MET border. Evidence was found of illegal access to the Police National Computer (PNC) and two other suspects were investigated - one was a civilian worker at a MET police station. The other, retired MET officer Alan King, had his private investigator premises in London searched and his home in Coulsdon, SURREY.

Apr 03  OPERATION MOTORMAN investigators briefed MET officers on their evidence that PNC information had been accessed by WHITTAMORE associates.  The MET then started preliminary investigations, prior to establishing their own formal Operation GLADE.  Also in April 03, Bob QUICK left the MET for his new appointment as Deputy Chief Constable of SURREY Police.

May 03  ICO investigators gave the MET further detailed update presentations on OPERATION MOTORMAN and evidence uncovered for use in Operation GLADE. The unsorted MOTORMAN Files continued to be organised and compiled into an electronic database.

Aug 03  OPERATION GLADE officially commenced - this MET investigation was restricted to only some of the PNC offences uncovered by MOTORMAN.

2003 - 04 Controversially, OPERATION MOTORMAN refrained from interviewing any journalists.  OPERATION GLADE interviewed only seven journalists; none were prosecuted.  More missed opportunities.

Oct 04  Bob QUICK promoted to Chief Constable, SURREY Police.

Apr 05 OPERATION GLADE investigation concluded in convictions of John BOYALL, Steve WHITTAMORE, ex-MET officer Alan King and MET civilian worker Paul Marshall after guilty pleas.  Via prosecutions preparations, copies of the MOTORMAN Files remained in the possession of the MET and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The ICO retained their own MOTORMAN database and the original hard copy evidence.

Just a few weeks later, members of the royal household began to suspect their phone messages were being intercepted by NotW.  Their suspicions were raised with MET Counter-Terrorism/Royalty Protection - the command headed by Andy HAYMAN. Dec 05 the resultant covert investigation started - OPERATION CARYATID.

Apparently, the MET failed to make any connection between CARYATID and the MOTORMAN or GLADE investigations, despite NotW featuring so largely in all three operations.

8 Aug 06  OPERATION CARYATID raided the London home and attempted to raid the NotW Wapping office of royal correspondent Clive GOODMAN. Simultaneously, Glenn MULCAIRE was also arrested and a large quantitiy of material seized from his London home and from business premises in Sutton, SURREY.

CARYATID established extremely narrow parameters solely to inform 4 priority categories of people named in MULCAIRE's notebooks and defined as victims - royal, politicians, police and national security.  Even so not all were informed, including Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.  MULCAIRE's information gathered about the Dowler family was undiscovered in his notebooks, and stored by the MET in bin bags.  Yet another opportunity missed.

Nov 06  GOODMAN and MULCAIRE convicted.

2007  Gordon Taylor negotiations on his settlement with NotW.  His lawyer, Mark Lewis, gained a crucial court decision ordering diclosure of all relevant material held by:
MET (from MULCAIRE and OPERATION CARYATID)
CPS Crown Prosecution Service (limited material from OPERATION CARYATID)
ICO (from OPERATION MOTORMAN)

It seems that all evidence of the Dowler hackings was still left overlooked in this disclosure search process.

Mar 08  Bob QUICK left SURREY Police for new post at the MET as Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations (Counter-Terrorism, Cabinet and Royal Protection).  It is not apparent if he was briefed on OPERATION CARYATID and its implications for royal, national security and senior politicians' protection. And if not, why not.

Apr 08  Craig DENHOLM left SURREY Police for his new post as MET Commander working directly with Assistant Commissioner John YATES.

June 09  Craig DENHOLM left MET and returned to SURREY Police for promotion to Deputy Chief Constable.

July 09  John YATES did his one-day assessment to decide that re-examining OPERATION CARYATID unused evidence was unnecessary.  Questions are still unanswered as to whether or not DENHOLM informed YATES what he knew, and his '02 meetings with NotW when they had admitted Milly Dowler's mobile phone was hacked.  And if not, why not.

Also in July, the CPS undertook its short, parallel consideration of its limited CARYATID material and supportively agreed with YATES that no re-investigation was justified.

The Dowler evidence in bin bags of MULCAIRE material continued to be overlooked.

Aug 09  YATES instructed CARYATID material to be collated and (for the first time) entered into a searchable database.  This work took months

2010  Civil litigations, Select Committee evidence and other revelations increasingly rendered NotW's 'one rogue reporter' defence untenable.

Jan 2011 MET announced the start of the OPERATION WEETING investigation into phone-hacking.

Apr 2011  Sally and Bob Dowler are finally informed by OPERATION WEETING that their (and their murdered daughter's) phone mesages had been intercepted. 

Apr 2012  The Culture, Media & Sports Select Committee reported that John YATES "told us that the eventual number of additional victims who were contacted as a result of the supposedly more vigorous investigation in 2009 was just eight." (para 259)

Inexplicably - and unforgivably - this was more than nine years after SURREY Police knew of the Milly Dowler phone hacking.

There may yet be legal repercussions for SURREY.  They are mentioned twice in court rulings of the 'Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation'.  The Generic Particulars of Claim (the agreed basis for all current and future litigation) states that NotW journalists  "had admitted to Surrey Police in April 2002 that the First Defendant (News Group Newspapers) had unlawfully accessed Milly Dowler's voicemail messages."

Plus, Mr Justice Vos has adressed another ruling to the MET on processes for disclosures to claimants.  Vos ordered the Met to disclose to claimants relevant documents, computer data and other material - including that of
the Respondent (The Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis), the First Defendant (News Group Newspapers),  Clive Goodman and the Surrey Police.
Grouped together in this way, they look a motley crew...

Related Posts
The Milly Dowler Hacking - Part 1: Questions Still Unanswered
The Milly Dowler Hacking - Part 3: A Short Postscript
Hackgate for Beginners
Surrey Police and the Hacking of Milly Dowler's Phone
Bloggerheads - News of the World: 110% certainty, the remainder fact

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

2 comments:

  1. I have another illegal access to the PNC, following an investigative blogger working on the Daniel Morgan murder. The hallmark of a police state is that it is corrupt.

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    Replies
    1. As someone who has written about the Daniel Morgan murder on this blog that's very worrying to hear.

      Delete