LONDON (AFP) - A judge opened Britain's phone-hacking inquiry Thursday with a vow that he will order witnesses to testify, as new claims emerged in a scandal that has tarnished the media, police and politicians. Lord Justice Brian Leveson, the judge appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to lead the probe, said the inquiry would start by looking at media ethics and press regulation. The first public hearings would be held in September, he announced. But just hours after Leveson spoke, the mother of a murdered girl on whose behalf the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid had campaigned relentlessly said she may have been targeted by a private investigator working for the now-defunct paper. Sara Payne, the mother of eight-year-old Sarah Payne who was killed by a paedophile in 2000, was "absolutely devastated" after police told her that her voicemail might have been hacked by the paper. News of the World had provided her with a mobile phone for the past 11 years, former editor Rebekah Brooks said. Brooks worked with Sara Payne to campaign for tougher child protection laws during her 2000-2003 editorship of News of the World. Brooks earlier this month quit as head of News International, Murdoch's British newspaper publishing arm, and was arrested by Scotland Yard on suspicion of phone-hacking. Brooks said in a statement that the latest allegations were "abhorrent" and "particularly upsetting" because Payne was a "dear friend". The scandal erupted earlier this month after it emerged that News of the World, which has since been shut down, had hacked into the voicemails of Milly Dowler, a missing 13-year-old girl who was later found murdered. The scandal has threatened to spread out to other papers, with former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, now a top presenter with US television network CNN, issuing a fresh denial on Wednesday that he used any stories knowingly obtained by hacking. In his opening remarks Leveson sought to quash claims about his own links to Murdoch's empire after it emerged that the judge previously had social connections with the tycoon's son-in-law, the public relations guru Matthew Freud. The scandal has refused to go away since the jailing in 2007 of the News of the World's former royal editor Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator in whose notes Sara Payne's details were found. Meanwhile, the board of BSkyB gave chairman James Murdoch their "unanimous support" Thursday, a source close to the British satellite broadcaster said, despite calls for him to quit over the phone-hacking scandal. "The role of the chairman was discussed at some length today and ultimately James Murdoch received the unanimous support of the board," the source told AFP after a BSkyB board meeting.