Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has apologized to the parents of Milly Dowler, whose phone was hacked by his journalists. He is also said to have bought full-page “We are sorry” ads in British newspapers.
The Dowler family’s solicitor Mark Lewis said on Friday that the private meeting between the Dowlers and Murdoch had been called by Murdoch to give a full apology to the family, the Guardian newspaper reports. The BBC showed images of the News Corp head walking into a building to attend the meeting.
Lewis added the question of money did not “taint” the meeting with Rupert Murdoch, but the parents of the murdered 13-year-old girl will still be pursuing compensation. News of the World journalists had illegally accessed Milly Dowler’s phone in search of information for news stories and deleted voicemails while she was missing but before her body was found, which gave investigators and her family false hopes she might still be alive.
The session with the Dowlers came hours after Murdoch released a copy of an apology that will be printed in all British newspapers this weekend.
In the ad, Rupert Murdoch says News International is “deeply sorry for the hurt” caused to phone-hacking victims and promises to “take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused.” The text of the ad was obtained on Friday by Sky News, which is partly owned by Murdoch.
Earlier on Friday, the chief executive of News International Rebekah Brooks resigned, saying she is “sorry… for what we now know to have taken place.” Brooks, who is the highest-ranked official so far to leave their post due to the scandal, will be replaced by Tom Mockridge of Sky Italia.
Rebekah Brooks has agreed to answer questions next Tuesday at a UK parliamentary committee. Rupert and James Murdoch have also agreed to appear after the committee issued formal summonses to them.
British police report seven people have been arrested in their investigation of the phone-hacking scandal, and two others in a parallel investigation of alleged bribery of police officers for information. A list of 3,700 names regarded as potential victims has been recovered by investigators, but so far the police have been in touch with fewer than 200 people, according to the Associated Press.
Besides the two investigations running in the UK, the FBI is reviewing the possible hacking of 9/11 victims’ phones.