The phone hacking scandal that brought Britain’s goliath tabloid News of the World to its knees traces back to a tiny story the paper published in 2005 about a knee injury that Prince William sustained. It hardly ranked with the newspaper’s string of blockbuster exposes over the years, but it tipped off royal officials that somebody was snooping, according to The Telegraph
|Prince William with his new bride, Kate. (Getty Images Photo)
Clive Goodman, who was the tabloid’s royal correspondent, wrote a brief account of the fact that Prince William had sought medical advice for a strained tendon in his knee, The Telegraph reports. A week later, he revealed that the prince had borrowed some broadcasting equipment from journalist friend Tom Bradby.
Royal officials were puzzled about the revelations because so few people knew about the two incidents. The prince and Bradby huddled over the matter and realized that the only way somebody could have known about the incidents was from tapping into voice mails they had left each other.
A police investigation led to Goodman’s jailing in 2007, along with Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective the paper often used to ferret out background for exposes.
Although News International insisted that Goodman and Mulcaire had acted alone, The Telegraph reported that most on Fleet Street doubted the alibi, adding, “though it would be years before those suspicions were proved correct.”
Those suspicions erupted into the scandal with the recent revelation that Mulcaire had accessed the cellphone of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old girl who went missing in 2002, and deleted messages, potentially impeding police. Dowler’s body was found six months after she went missing.
New accusations that Mulcaire also accessed the phones of two other missing teenagers, victims of the 7/7 London bomb outrages of 2005, and even the families of service personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, increased public anger, culminating in the pending closing of the News of the World.
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