Hugh Grant: Non-Murdoch tabloid hacked me in 2007

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“There seems to have been a leak from the hospital,” Grant said. “They even knew the fake name she had checked into the hospital under.”

Grant had initially refused to confirm the baby was his, but earlier this month released a statement acknowledging it. He told the inquiry that the statement _ intended in part to rebuff claims he had “jilted” Hong, with whom he remains friendly _ had been composed during a phone call with his publicist while he was on a film set in Germany.

“It was not ideal circumstances,” Grant said. “I was dressed as a cannibal at the time.”

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the inquiry into media ethics in response to an evolving scandal over phone hacking in Britain. Murdoch shut down the discredited News of the World tabloid in July after evidence emerged that it had routinely eavesdropped on the voice mails of public figures, celebrities and even crime victims in its search for scoops.

The inquiry, led by Judge Brian Leveson, plans to issue a report next year and could recommend major changes to the way the media in Britain are regulated.

Grant, who has become an outspoken campaigner against press intrusion, called for a media code of ethics and tougher regulation.

“There has been a section of our press that has been allowed to become toxic over the past 20 or 30 years,” he said, urging Britain to find the courage to stand up to tabloid “bullies.”

Grant is one of a string of high-profile witnesses, including actress Sienna Miller and author J.K. Rowling, who will testify about how they were followed, photographed, entrapped and harassed by journalists from Britain’s tabloids, which collectively sell millions of copies a day.

The first witnesses Monday were the parents of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, whose mobile phone voice mails were hacked after she disappeared in 2002.

Her mother told the inquiry that she believed her missing 13 year old was still alive once she reached the girl’s previously full voice mailbox.

Sally Dowler said when she could finally leave a message on Milly’s voice mail weeks after the girl disappeared, she shouted: “She’s picked up the voice mails! … She’s alive!”

In fact, messages had been deleted by someone working for the News of the World while the Dowlers and police were still searching for Milly, who was later found dead.

The Dowlers said they had been utterly shocked when police told them, much later, that Milly’s phone had been hacked.

Bob Dowler said he recognized immediately that the information was “dynamite.” News that tabloid journalists had targeted not just celebrities but a murdered girl shocked many Britons and triggered a police investigation and media recriminations that are still unfolding.

The Dowlers took the stand together and spoke in quiet, composed voices during their 30 minutes of nationally televised testimony.

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