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Private Investigator Convicted of Milly Dowler Phone Hacking Lodges Appeal Amid Claims he was ‘Scapegoat’

Private eye at heart of phone-hacking scandal claims he was wrongly convicted twice for same crime as he launches “vindicating” book

Glenn Mulcaire, the former private investigator tasked with hacking, was given a six-month suspended sentence in 2014. Photo: Lee Thomas/Alamy Live News

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Glenn Mulcaire, the former private investigator at the center of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, is attempting to appeal against his 2011 conviction related to the illegal interception of voicemails belonging to murdered Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler, Byline Times can reveal. 

The 2011 revelations of the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone caused outrage, since the fact her voicemails had been intercepted led her parents to believe she might still be alive. That served as a catalyst for the eventual shutdown of the News of the World following the scandal, ultimately leading to the Leveson inquiry into the behaviour of the British press. The conviction also covered hacking of the former Labour Home Secretary Charles Clarke, cook and presenter Delia Smith.

In grounds for appeal seen by this outlet, Mulcaire argues that his second conviction for phone hacking of Dowler and others in 2014 was based on evidence seized by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) during his initial arrest in August 2006, for which he was convicted of illegally intercepting phone messages from the Royal Family including Prince Harry. 

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Mulcaire with hacking victim, actor and campaigner Hugh Grant. Shadow Man is published by Grant’s own publishing house, Yellow Press

He claims that this evidence was covered under his original guilty plea in 2006, which included five “sample victims” representing the wider scope of his phone hacking activities. 

In other words, he argues that his second phone hacking conviction in 2014 – to which he says he felt pressured to plead Guilty – represented being tried twice for the same crimes. 

Mulcaire had tried to push ahead with a so-called Abuse of Process (AoP) application against those charges, to call off the trial. 

But he says his lawyers then informed him that he could not proceed with the AoP application because of his Guilty pleas. 

Mulcaire claims that this inconsistent advice left him with no choice but to plead guilty to all charges, resulting in a second conviction for the same offences. Mulcaire was sentenced to six months in prison, while former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was acquitted of all charges. David Cameron’s spin doctor Andy Coulson – also a former NoTW editor – was sentenced to eighteen months in prison. 

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Mulcaire asserts that had he received proper legal advice, he would have pleaded not guilty, and the case against him would have been thrown out, preventing his second conviction, which he describes as “ruinous” for himself and his family.

Mulcaire had been represented by law firms Slater & Gordon and Russell Jones & Walker. His claim that these firms acted negligently in their legal advice by not providing him with certain documents led to an February 2023 agreement, where the law firms denied any wrongdoing but agreed to settle the case out of court. 

As part of the settlement, the law firms provided him with documents he was seeking for his appeal. 

Mulcaire has retrained as a first responder in emergency care

It comes as Mulcaire launches a new book, Shadow Man this Thurday (June 6th), subtitled: How I became the fall guy for Rupert Murdoch’s phone hacking scandal and got convicted of the same crime TWICE, written with the bestselling author Joe Cusack. 

The blurb for the book contains a quote from Mark Lewis, the Dowler family lawyer saying: “I never associated Glenn Mulcaire with any wrongdoing on [the hacking of] Milly Dowler” adding he was “the real scapegoat”. “It always seems odd to me that [he] was prosecuted twice”, Lewis adds. 

Nick Davies, author of the book, Hack Attack, is also quoted as saying: “I’ve never blamed Glenn Mulcaire for what the News of the World got up to. It was a ruthless, greedy organisation which pushed people into doing things that they would never have otherwise done.”

In Shadow Man, Mulcaire lays out what happened during and after his sentencing, saying he was “spat at, shunned and then hounded by the same ravenous reporters [he] once fed”. Mulcaire ended-up homeless, bankrupt and near-suicidal, he says. 

He says he will expose the “deceit and corruption at the heart of the British press” – including “new explosive evidence” on the Milly Dowler scandal. 

It opens with Mulcaire being arrested at gunpoint as an ‘Enemy of the State’ after being branded a “terrorist”.


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Mulcaire describes himself as going from “being Prince Harry’s enemy to ally in the Duke’s war for press reform,” following a bizarre journey from semi-professional footballer into the world of international espionage as a private investigator. 

He notes he “digitally [picked] the pockets of the good, the bad and the great” in his work for newspapers. Mulcaire describes it as being “breathtakingly easy” to “breach the security of the highest office in the land”. 

He told Byline Times he is “determined” to overturn his convictions, “put the real story about Milly Dowler on record” – and turn the spotlight on former news bosses. 

Mulcaire’s criminal appeal over his second conviction has now been filed and is awaiting a judge’s decision on whether it can proceed. 

For the last eight years, Glenn has been a source and expert witness for the claimants in the long-running phone hacking litigation against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers, the Mirror’s Reach PLC, and more recently in Prince Harry’s case against the Daily Mail’s Associated News Limited. After qualifying as a First Responder in Emergency Care, Glenn now advises on crisis management, PTSD and anxiety issues. 

Shadow Man will be published by Yellow Press on 6th June.

4th June: This piece has been updated to note that Mulcaire retrained as a first responder, not a paramedic as previously stated.

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