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Gazza gets €265,000 as Mirror pays €1.4m to hacked celebrities

More than £1m (€1.4m) in damages has been awarded to celebrities including Paul Gascoigne and Sadie Frost over phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers.

The former England footballer was awarded £188,250 (€265,000) at the High Court and actress Frost received £260,250 (€367,000).

Lawyers for phone-hacking victims claimed yesterday's payouts, totalling around £1.2m (€1.7m), were "unparalleled".

Trinity Mirror, which owns MGN, said it was considering an appeal, but revealed it had set aside an additional £4m (€5.6m) to cover the cost of more claims, taking the total to £16m (€22.5m).

Eight damages awards were announced at London's High Court yesterday after a three-week hearing in March to determine the extent of the wrongdoing at the group and what level of compensation was appropriate.

Mr Justice Mann also awarded £85,000 (€120,000) to TV executive Alan Yentob, £117,500 (€166,000) and £157,250 (€222,000) respectively to actresses Shobna Gulati and Lucy Taggart and £155,000 (€218,000) to soap star Shane Richie.

TV producer Robert Ashworth, who was married to actress Tracy Shaw, received £201,250 (€283,000) and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn, who had a relationship with soccer star Rio Ferdinand, was awarded £72,500 (€102,000).

The judge said the victims had all suffered a "serious infringement of privacy" and the scale of hacking was "very substantial".

Solicitor Gerald Shamash, for Gascoigne, said his client was relieved that the judge "has recognised the sustained and intrusive impact that MGN's repeated publication of his private information had on his life, family and friends".

Frost's solicitor, Mark Thomson, said she was "thrilled with the outcome".

"She accepts, reluctantly, that she will never know the full extent of the unlawful activities by MGN, but is relieved to have finally found out that her private information was hacked rather than having been leaked by someone close to her," he said.

Trinity Mirror said it had accepted it needed to compensate phone hacking victims.

"However, our initial view of the lengthy judgment is that the basis used for calculating damages is incorrect," it said.

In previous hearings, David Sherborne, counsel for the eight claimants, said hacking involved the systematic gathering of private information for profit, using illegal means, and it was that context in which damages should be assessed by the judge, who faced an "unparalleled'' task.