James Murray at the Leveson inquiry

James Murray: 'Everyone's on ice. Everyone's cautious. Everyone's frightened'

The Guardian's coverage of the Milly Dowler phone hacking story has "chronically and potentially fatally damaged relationships between journalists and the police", the Leveson inquiry was told today.

Sunday Express associate editor (news) James Murray said the July 2011 story had "an enormous impact" on police-press links, and had significantly reduced the amount of information that officers would share with journalists.

He told the Leveson inquiry: "The normal lines of communication have been chronically damaged. So little information is coming out of [Scotland] Yard."

Asked when the change happened, Murray said: "Since the Guardian published its story regarding the investigation into phone hacking and the allegation that the News of the World had deleted messages belonging to the phone of Milly Dowler."

Murray said: "It chronically and potentially fatally damaged relationships between journalists and the police.

"We spent an enormous amount of time patiently building up relationships with Surrey Police, gaining their trust. All that trust was blown out of the water by these allegations."

He later added: "Everyone's on ice. Everyone's cautious. Everyone's frightened."

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