Senior executives and staff at the News of the World
attempted to obstruct the police investigation into telephone hacking by
deleting millions of emails and hiding evidence from detectives, it was
claimed last night.
The list of possible victims also features Miss McGuinness’s
Lib Dem colleagues, Mr Clegg and Sir Menzies, and Jane
Tanner, who was on holiday with the McCanns in Praia da Luz,
Portugal, and is convinced she saw Madeleine being carried
off by a man Photo: PA
An executive from News International, the tabloid’s parent
company, allegedly deleted potentially incriminating emails from an
internal archive shortly after Scotland Yard began its second
investigation in January.
It is also alleged that the contents of a reporter’s desk were
removed following his arrest before police had an opportunity to conduct
The allegations came as The Daily Telegraph learnt that
detectives have been handed a list of potential telephone hacking
victims linked to the Madeleine McCann case.
The list of 67 names and numbers includes Kate and Gerry McCann,
parents of the missing child, and politicians including Nick Clegg and
Sir Menzies Campbell. It was handed to officers working on Operation
Weeting, the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into telephone hacking
at the News of the World last year.
The alleged mass deletion of emails, reported by The Guardian
newspaper last night, has exacerbated tensions between News
International and Scotland Yard
Last month, News International handed over evidence of
journalists’ alleged involvement in bribing police officers, but was
warned by Scotland Yard not to make a public announcement. When the
existence of the emails became public this week detectives concluded
that the agreement had been breached.
It is also claimed that after the arrest of James Weatherup, a
senior journalist at the newspaper, in April, his desk was cleared and
its contents lodged with a firm of solicitors. The Metropolitan Police
is said to have consulted the Crown Prosecution Service over whether
charges could be brought.
Meanwhile, the list containing details of people linked to the
Madeleine investigation suggests the victims of telephone hacking are
not confined to names seized from Glenn Mulcaire following his arrest in
2006. Although the three year-old went missing in May 2007, after
Mulcaire, the private investigator at the heart of the scandal, had been
jailed, some connected to the investigation into her disappearance have
raised concerns that their telephones may have been hacked.
One is understood to be Justine McGuinness, a Liberal Democrat
adviser who was a spokesman for the McCanns. The list of possible
victims also features Miss McGuinness’s Lib Dem colleagues, Mr Clegg and
Sir Menzies, and Jane Tanner, who was on holiday with the McCanns in
Praia da Luz, Portugal, and is convinced she saw Madeleine being carried
off by a man.
Detectives were said to have interviewed Clarence Mitchell, the
McCanns’ spokesman, about the list, although he was unaware how it came
into fruition. Mr Mitchell has confirmed that he met officers after
attempts were made to access his Vodafone account.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said of the list: “If anyone is
concerned about telephone hacking we are duty bound to take it