Over 5,000 victims of phone-hacking, says UK police

London, Nov 4: An ongoing investigation by Scotland Yard into the phone-hacking at the now defunct News of the World tabloid has said that there were at least 5,795 victims, including many celebrities, whose phones were illegally accessed for information.

The phones were hacked by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who allegedly acted at the behest of the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid, and kept meticulous notes of his activities.

His notes have provided the police much information in the ongoing investigation. The latest figure of 5,795 victims is likely to go up as investigations continue at various levels.

The controversy seriously dented Murdoch's media empire in Britain, including his company's withdrawal of the BSkyB takeover bid.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said yesterday: "It is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been hacked but we can confirm that as of today's date, November 3, 2011, the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material, and who may therefore be victims, where names are noted, is 5,795.

This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis."

The Guardian's original story in 2009 suggested that between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals may have been victims of phone hacking, but new figures lend credence to claims by victims and their solicitors that the practice was on an "industrial scale" at the tabloid.

Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 and is currently fighting over 40 legal cases brought by celebrities such as Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan.


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