Phone hacking: Father whose family was killed in frenzied knife attack is among victims suing
THE father of Josie Russell, who survived a frenzied hammer attack in which her sister and mother were killed, is suing News International over alleged phone hacking by the News of the World.
Shaun Russell is reportedly among a raft of new claimants who have issued legal writs against the group which owned the former tabloid.
Sara Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah, Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell, pop star Dannii Minogue, and 7/7 hero Paul Dadge are also suing Rupert Murdoch's media company over alleged voicemail interception, sources said.
In July 1996, Mr Russell's daughter Josie was walking in a quiet country lane in Kent, with her younger sister Megan and mother Lin when they were tied up and beaten by killer Michael Stone.
Lin, 45, and Megan, six, were killed while Josie, then aged nine, survived despite suffering terrible head injuries. The murders and subsequent hunt for Stone were the subject of intense media interest.
Other well-known figures and celebrities claiming damages against News International included politician Lord Prescott, actor Jude Law, comedian Steve Coogan and ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne.
Yesterday Kylie Minogue also revealed she suspected her phone may have been hacked while she was suffering from breast cancer.
She said being in the public eye had been a "blessing" because of the support she received but a "curse" because of occasional media intrusion.
Asked if her phone had been hacked, she added: "It may have been."
The singer, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 but given the all-clear the following year, was speaking after receiving an honorary degree from Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, for her work to promote cancer awareness.
Earlier this year at the High Court, Mr Justice Vos heard that around 30 high-profile people who suspect their phone messages were intercepted by News of the World journalists were taking legal action, but that number is said to have increased to more than 60 in recent weeks.
The Guardian reported the sharp increase is due to a judicial cut-off point for initial claims.
Another claimant is Sheila Henry, the mother of London bombing victim Christian Small who died in the July 2005 blasts.
Politicians Denis MacShane, Simon Hughes, Mark Oaten, Tessa Jowell, Chris Bryant and George Galloway, and former Downing Street communications chief Alastair Campbell are also taking legal action.
The judge is due to hear evidence from a group of "lead claimants" at a hearing in January - and any rulings he makes are expected to provide a blueprint for the way other claims are dealt with.
In 2007, Glenn Mulcaire and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman were given jail terms after the Old Bailey heard they plotted to hack into royal aides' telephone messages. New police inquiries have started since then.
News International shut down the News of the World in July in the wake of the hacking scandal.
A spokesman for News International said: "News International is committed to reaching fair and where possible swift settlements with victims of illegal voicemail interception and has unreservedly apologised to those affected."