THE mother of Sarah Payne, the murdered schoolgirl, has been told by detectives that a mobile phone given to her by the 'News of the World' may later have been hacked by a private investigator working on behalf of the same newspaper.
Sara Payne was visited by officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting, who confirmed that her contact details were on a list compiled by Glenn Mulcaire.
Her friend, Shy Keenan, said Ms Payne, whose daughter was murdered by Roy Whiting, a paedophile, in 2000, was "absolutely devastated" by the news.
Ms Payne worked closely with the 'News of the World' on a campaign that led to parents being given the right to check whether people with access to their children had convictions for sexual offences -- under the provision of the so-called Sarah's Law.
She wrote an article for the newspaper's final edition in which she described staff as "good and trusted friends".
The suggestion that Ms Payne's phone had been accessed was suggested previously, but she denied that her details had been found by police in Mr Mulcaire's dossier.
Detectives said yesterday they had stated initially that her details were not in the files, but had recently visited Ms Payne to correct their mistake.
Ms Brooks said the allegation was "particularly upsetting" because Ms Payne was a "dear friend".
She said in a statement: "The idea that anyone on the newspaper knew that Sara or the campaign team were targeted by Mr Mulcaire is unthinkable.
"The idea of her being targeted is beyond my comprehension. It is imperative for Sara and the other victims of crime that these allegations are investigated and those culpable brought to justice."
Tom Watson, the Labour MP who has campaigned on the hacking issue, described the allegation as a "new low". He said: "The last edition of the 'News of the World' made great play of the paper's relationship with the Payne family. Brooks talked about it at the committee inquiry.
"Now this. I have nothing but contempt for the people that did this."
The Hacked Off campaign, which represents phone-hacking victims and lobbies for a full investigation into the scandal, said it was "shocked and saddened" by the news.
Martin Moore, the campaign founder, said the new revelation indicated "breathtaking hypocrisy and a complete lack of moral sense".
Meanwhile, Lord Justice Leveson, who is in charge of the phone-hacking inquiry, went to the 50th birthday party of Tim Godwin, the acting commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
He made the admission in a two-page declaration of interests that also documented his attendance at two parties at the home of Rupert Murdoch's son-in-law.
Mr Murdoch and Mr Godwin are likely to give evidence under oath to the inquiry. (© Daily Telegraph, London)