A CHASTENED Rupert Murdoch said sorry yesterday to victims of criminal phone hacking
In increasingly desperate efforts to get ahead of a scandal washing over his global business, the US-based magnate made a personal apology to the parents and family of murder victim Milly Dowler in what appeared to be an admission that the 'News of the World', had in 2002 hacked into the voicemails of their missing daughter.
Following the arrest of nine journalists so far since British police relaunched inquiries in January, the scandal raised the possibility of legal action against yet more senior executives of the multinational corporation.
A direct apology from Mr Murdoch, who has been summoned to answer questions before a British parliamentary committee, will be carried in national newspapers this weekend under the headline "We are sorry".
"The 'News of the World' was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself," Murdoch wrote in the article, which was signed off "Sincerely, Rupert Murdoch".
"We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred. We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected. In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us."
He also met parents of Milly Dowler, the 13-year-old abducted in 2002 and found murdered six months later. Police are investigating whether someone engaged by the 'News of the World' not only listened in to the missing teenager's cellphone mailbox but deleted some messages to make room for more.
That misled police hunting for her and gave her parents false hope that their daughter might still be alive.
"He apologised many times. I don't think somebody could have held their head in their hands so many times to say that they were sorry," said Mark Lewis, the Dowler family lawyer
Speaking before Rebekah Brooks's resignation to the Wall Street Journal, Mr Murdoch defended the way his managers had handled the crisis.
He spoke of "minor mistakes" and dismissed suggestions that he should sell off the troubled newspapers on which his empire was founded but which bring in only limited profits.