Report: News of the World May Have Targeted Mother of Murdered Child

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Rebecca Brooks. Photo: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Sara Payne has been notified that she may have been targeted by Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who worked with the now-shuttered News of the World in the days and months after her daughter Sarah was abducted and murdered in 2000. It was Payne's case, and the resulting campaign led by NotW editor Rebekah Brooks, that led to the passage of Sarah's law — a rule that allows parents to ask police about prior sex offenses for anyone who has regular and unsupervised contact with their children. At first it was thought that Payne had not been on a list of targets in Mulcaire's notes, and she even contributed a farewell column for the NotW's final edition. But now police have discovered that while her name was not on Mulcaire's list, her personal information was. This is particularly unsettling to Payne, as the paper had provided her with a cell phone in 2000 and continued to pay for it for eleven years.

There's no evidence it was hacked so far, but nonetheless Payne said she was "absolutely devastated and deeply disappointed" by her connection to the scandal. Brooks chimed in to say that "these allegations are abhorrent and particularly upsetting as Sara Payne is [a] dear friend." She said the phone was provided "for the benefit of the campaign for Sarah's Law," and that "it was not a personal gift." Brooks said the idea that anyone at the paper knew that Payne was targeted by Mulcaire is "unthinkable" and that "the idea of her being targeted is beyond my comprehension."

Sara Payne 'May Have Been Targeted By NOTW' [Sky News]