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Witnesses have included celebrities like actor Hugh Grant and ordinary people pursued in times of grief, including the parents of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler, whose voice mails were accessed by the News of the World after she disappeared in 2002.

Her parents said the hacking gave them false hope their daughter was still alive during the investigation into her disappearance.

On Wednesday, the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann said they were left distraught by false stories and the publication of private information by the tabloid press.

Kate and Gerry McCann told the inquiry they felt powerless in the face of stories, based on concocted evidence, suggesting they had killed their daughter. Madeleine had vanished when she was three during the British family’s 2007 vacation in Portugal.

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Leveson Inquiry: http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/

Jill Lawless can be reached at: http://twitter.com/JillLawless