Rupert Murdoch yesterday said he had donated £1m to charities chosen by Milly Dowler’s family to underscore his regret for the “abhorrent” hacking of the murdered schoolgirl’s phone.
News International also confirmed it was paying the Dowler family £2m in settlement of their civil claim over the illegal interception of Milly’s voicemail messages by a private investigator working for the News of the World after she went missing in 2002.
Mr Murdoch is making a further personal donation to be divided between six causes selected by the teenager’s family.
The News Corporation chairman and chief executive said: “When I met with the Dowlers in July, I expressed how deeply sorry I was for the hurt we had caused this family.
“The behaviour that the News of the World exhibited towards the Dowlers was abhorrent and I hope this donation underscores my regret for the company’s role in this awful event.
“I also hope that through the personal donation something positive can be done in memory of their daughter.”
The Dowler family added: “Nothing that has been agreed will ever bring back Milly or undo the traumas of her disappearance and the horrendous murder trial earlier this year.
“The only way that a fitting tribute could be agreed was to ensure that a very substantial donation to charity was made in Milly’s memory. We hope that projects will be undertaken so that some good can come from this.”
Mr Murdoch’s £1m will be split between charities that represent causes close to Milly and those that support other crime victims.
They are Shooting Star Chase, Child Victims of Crime, Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Hampton Pool Trust, Brain Tumour UK and Cancer Research.
Milly, 13, was abducted and murdered by serial killer Levi Bellfield as she walked home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.
Surrey Police admitted yesterday that it knew Milly’s phone was hacked by someone working for the News of the World in 2002 but did not launch a criminal investigation into the illegal activity.