'Despicable' hacking of Bricket Wood war hero's emails

PUBLISHED: 09:47 14 July 2011

Captain James Philippson

Captain James Philippson

Archant

A FALLEN soldier's email account is thought to have been hacked into by journalists in the days after his death in Afghanistan.

Captain James Philippson from Bricket Wood was killed in action aged 29 in June 2006 and his father Tony believes he is the first identified victim of email hacking by a newspaper.

He explained that when his son departed for Afghanistan, he left his hotmail password with his brother David so that he could manage his affairs while he was fighting on the front line.

A week after Capt Philippson’s death, David logged into the account – which contained highly personal information – to find that several new messages had already been read but, amid the grief of losing his brother, he forgot about the incident.

But as allegations emerged last week of dead soldiers’ and murder victims’ families’ mobile phone voicemails being hacked into by the News of the World, it suddenly struck David that his brother might have fallen victim to similar newsroom practises.

Unable to get hold of the Metropolitan Police, Tony Philippson went on several national television news channels to make the claims and officers have now informed him that they are launching a separate investigation into the possibility of email hacking.

He said: “At the beginning of the week after James was killed, David logged into the account. He was the only one that had the password, nobody else had access, and he found another person had hacked it. But the hacker was so stupid as he could have put the messages back to unread.

“At the time, with his brother dead, David had obviously decided that he didn’t want to do anything about it and forgot it. But yesterday he telephoned me as he had suddenly realised that he had information that was relevant.”

Reason

Mr Philippson, who lives in St Albans, described the allegations as “absolutely despicable” and continued: “The ridiculous thing is they could have never used it, so what was the sense in them doing it? There is no logical reason why, it defies logic.”

Police will try to trace who accessed Captain Philippson’s hotmail account but his father understands that records are only kept for five years, a time lapse which ended just a few weeks ago.

The family’s mobile phone numbers have also been added to the list of thousands that could have been potentially hacked by the News of the World, which announced its closure this week due to the scandal.

Mr Philippson confirmed that the family had already instructed lawyers on the matter.

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