London: Hacking of phones of individuals at
Rupert Murdoch`s News of the World was conducted on an
"industrial scale", according to new revelations made on Wednesday,
putting more pressure on his media empire in Britain and
Covert surveillance was conducted not only of the
murdered teenager Milly Dowler, but the targets included
Prince William, Prince Harry’s girlfriend Chelsy Davy, former
attorney general Lord Goldsmith, and Harry Potter star Daniel
Over eight years, private investigator Derek Webb was
paid to follow more than 90 targets, according to the BBC,
which said a "dossier" indicated that the covert surveillance
was conducted on an "industrial scale".
Murdoch`s mass selling tabloid, News of the World, was
closed down earlier this year following reports that Milly
Dowler`s phone had been hacked into for information to be used
in sensational news stories in the tabloid.
The issue snowballed into a major controversy, rocking
British politics, the press and the police, and withdrawal by
Murdoch`s of his bid to takeover BSkyB.
The BBC was scheduled to broadcast details of the new
revelations tonight at 10.30 GMT.
Webb told the BBC that he was not ashamed of his actions
and that he did nothing illegal.
He said that shortly after setting up his own private
detective agency in 2003 he was contacted by the News of the
World and offered work.
Webb, a former police officer trained by MI5, continued
to work for the newspaper until it was shut down in July after
a string of allegations emerged about the hacking of phones,
including that of murdered schoolgirl Dowler.
Webb said he "was working for them extensively on many
jobs throughout that time." "I never knew when I was going to
be required. They phoned me up by the day or by the night...It
could be anywhere in the country...I got calls from numerous
journalists on the news desk," he said.
The BBC said it had seen the detailed logs of his
movements and observations while on surveillance jobs.
"Basically I would write down what they were wearing at
the time, what car they were in, who they met, the location
they met, the times - the times were very important - and I
would keep that. And then I would transfer part of it into my
diary, but not the actual log itself. Just the names of the
people," Webb said.
The private investigator said he never asked his contacts
at the newspaper why they had selected the targets for
He also defended his work for the newspaper pointing out
that what he had done was legal.