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Senior staff accused of deleting emails as McCann link emerges

Senior executives and staff at the 'News of the World' attempted to obstruct the police investigation into telephone hacking by deleting millions of emails and hiding evidence from detectives, it was claimed last night.

An executive from News International, the tabloid's parent company, allegedly deleted potentially incriminating emails from an internal archive shortly after Scotland Yard began its second investigation in January.

It is also alleged that the contents of a reporter's desk were removed following his arrest, before police had an opportunity to conduct a search.

The allegations came as 'The Daily Telegraph' learnt that detectives have been handed a list of potential telephone hacking victims linked to the Madeleine McCann case.

The list of 67 names and numbers includes Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of the missing child.

It was handed to officers working on Operation Weeting, the investigation into telephone hacking at the 'News of the World' last year.

The list suggests the victims of telephone hacking are not confined to names seized from Glenn Mulcaire following his arrest in 2006.

Although the three-year-old went missing in May 2007 -- after Mulcaire, the private investigator at the heart of the scandal, had been jailed -- some connected to the investigation into her disappearance have raised concerns that their telephones may have been hacked.

One is understood to be Justine McGuinness, a Liberal Democrat adviser who was a spokeswoman for the McCanns.

The list of possible victims also features Ms McGuinness's Lib Dem colleagues, Nick Clegg and Sir Menzies Campbell, and Jane Tanner, who was on holiday with the McCanns in Praia da Luz, Portugal, and is convinced she saw Madeleine being carried off by a man. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent