Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

New victims emerge in hacking probe

Scotland Yard has identified new potential victims of phone hacking
Former Deputy PM John Prescott believes he was a victim of phone hacking

Scotland Yard has identified new potential victims of phone hacking after fresh evidence emerged.

Metropolitan Police detectives are contacting those involved, including former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, as they confirmed they had an "important and immediate" new line of inquiry for investigators to follow.

Senior officers said analysis of documents seized in 2005 alongside new information has led them to take a second look at whether some people may have fallen victim to the intrusive scam.

They added that some people previously told there was "little or no information" linking them to the tabloid newspaper scandal had been notified of the development.

Lord Prescott was briefed by police on Wednesday and afterwards said the original investigation into the hacking of phones, of which he believes he was a victim, was "completely inadequate".

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Having begun an analysis of the documents seized in 2005 alongside the new evidence, the team have been able to make some links not previously identified.

"As a result, the team have also identified some individuals who were previously advised that there was little or no information held by the Met relating to them within the case papers and exhibits and this is now being reviewed.

"At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest that their voice mails were hacked but this will be an important and immediate new line of inquiry. As a result detectives are taking urgent steps to advise them of this development at the earliest opportunity."

The Metropolitan Police would not comment on reports that they intended to contact about 3,000 people whose phones may have been targeted. They had previously revealed that 2,978 phone numbers and 91 pin codes were recovered during their initial inquiry, but said this was not evidence that their phone calls had been intercepted.

Lord Prescott said the latest development was "very significant". He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "This is a very big issue, not only for the Met but also the press. We have got to get a proper reform of the relations between the Metropolitan Police and the press. I think it is going to go a long way. It doesn't stop at the Met. I think it will go to a lot of newspapers who have been hacking people for a long time."

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