When it related to actors, footballers and politicians, the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World was already something which disturbed decent people.

The fact that murdered teenager Milly Dowler's mobile telephone was hacked into by a News of the World private investigator has taken that public concern to a new level.

As an editor (albeit in the regional press) do I really believe that senior executives were blissfully unaware that this was going on at the News of the World? No, I don't.

If it came to light that journalists under my supervision were hacking into the phones of a missing teenager at the centre of a major police inquiry, would I expect to be sacked? Yes, I would.

It is utterly appalling, primarily for Milly Dowler's family who have already been through more than enough.

What also saddens me is that it cements the public perception that journalists are a seedy, untrustworthy bunch who'd sell their grannies for a story.

The reality, in my experience, is that the vast majority of journalists came into the profession to change things for the better: to campaign for justice; expose wrong-doing; and promote good causes.

But all the good things that newspapers do are too often over-shadowed by the unacceptable behaviour of the minority.

Whether she knew about it oo not, Rebekah Brooks - News of the World editor at the time and now News International's chief executive - will surely find it hard to survive the fall-out.

Urging people not to buy newspapers is not something I do lightly. But a public boycott of the News of the World would send a very strong message that people won't stand for such flagrant abuse of privacy in the name of journalism.