The former managing editor of the News of the World has admitted he knew his paper had a voicemail message taken from Milly Dowler’s phone.

But Stuart Kuttner denied giving permission to reporters to hack the Walton teenager’s phone after she went missing in 2002.

Mr Kuttner appeared at the Old Bailey last week charged with conspiracy to intercept voicemails.

He told the court on Wednesday he was aware of the voicemail left on Milly’s phone by a recruitment agency offering her a job, and that he called Surrey Police the day before verbatim transcripts of the message were published in the paper.

He said he did not believe that phone hacking was rife at the News of the World at the time.

Milly was 13 when she disappeared on her way home from school in March 2002. Her remains were found in woodland six months later.

Nightclub bouncer Levi Bellfield was found guilty of her murder in 2011, having previously been convicted of killing Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell and attempting to murder Kate Sheedy.

Mr Kuttner is on trial with seven other defendants, including former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and ex News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

All seven deny the charges against them.

The trial continues.