Phone hacking victim to get record payout

Rupert Murdoch's News of the World offers the family of Milly Dowler, the victim of the phone hacking scandal, a record settlement of Rs 27 crore

The family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler have been offered �3 million (Rs 27 crore) compensation by the publishers of the News of the World to settle their phone-hacking claim.

Under the proposed out-of-court settlement Milly's parents Bob and Sally and sister Gemma would receive �2 million (Rs 15 crore) in personal damages with a further �1 million (Rs 7 crore) going to charity.

Money matters: According to the settlement, Milly's parents Bob and Sally
and sister Gemma (left) will each receive �2 million while �1 million will
go to charity that will personally be paid by Rupert Murdoch.
File pics/getty images

The Dowlers' lawyers were said yesterday to be holding out for a total package of �3.5 million (Rs 18 crore), but News International said an agreement is expected in the next few days.

It is understood that in the �3 million offer, the �1 million charity donation would be paid personally by News International's owner Rupert Murdoch.

There was widespread outrage when it was revealed in July that a private investigator hired by the News of the World listened to answerphone messages on 13-year-old Milly's mobile phone after her disappearance in 2002.

It was also the catalyst to a string of fresh phone-hacking revelations which led to the closure of the Sunday tabloid and the public shaming of Murdoch and his son James, chief executive of News International.

The figure dwarfs the amounts offered to other phone-hacking claimants and is vastly more than they could have expected to receive if the case had gone to court.

If the Dowler family had claimed criminal injuries compensation for the loss of their daughter -- who we now know was murdered by Levi Bellfield shortly after being abducted - they would have received a maximum of �11,000 (Rs 8.30 lakh).

As well as intercepting Milly's voicemails following her disappearance, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire allegedly deleted some of them to make room for more recordings. Police said it was thought Milly may have deleted the messages herself, raising false hopes that she was still alive.

Murdoch met with the Dowler family in July, making what the family's lawyer, Mark Lewis, said was a 'full and humble' apology.

He said the media tycoon 'held his head in his hands', apologising repeatedly to her parents for an intrusion that 'never should happened'.

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