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Thursday 22 March 2018

Murdoch's group facing 56 more phone-hacking cases

Martin Beckford in London

Fifteen more phone-hacking claims against the 'News of the World' have been settled, with substantial damages awarded to well-known figures and members of the public, but more than 50 cases are still outstanding.

Entertainers such as Steve Coogan ended their legal action against the tabloid.

Figures from politics including George Galloway, Alastair Campbell and Simon Hughes also received damages.

But the High Court heard that others caught up in the disgraced newspaper's activities were rival journalists and people who were merely friends with celebrities such as the footballers George Best and Paul Gascoigne.

The latest payments, coming weeks after a first tranche of 37, mean 54 of the original 60 cases have now been settled. Five more cannot be heard yet for technical reasons while just one, brought by the singer Charlotte Church and her parents, will go to a full trial later this month.


But the pre-trial hearing was also told that another 50 cases have been launched in recent months by public figures including the singer James Blunt, the UKIP politician Nigel Farage, the footballer Peter Crouch and his wife Abby Clancey, the former wife of golfer Colin Montgomerie, Eimear Cook, and the footballer Kieron Dyer.

It means 56 cases are still outstanding against News Group Newspapers, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, and Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator jailed in 2007 in the original criminal trial for phone-hacking.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing some claimants whose case was due to go to trial next week, said a claim by singer Charlotte Church and her parents had not been resolved.

The announcement, at a hearing in London before Mr Justice Vos, came during the latest in a number of pre-trial reviews in preparation for the long-awaited trial.

The court heard that Mr Coogan had settled his claim for £40,000 (€47,700). Mr Hughes received £45,000 (€53,300) and Mr Andrew received £75,000 (€89,500). Mr Gascoigne received £68,000 (€81,000).

Sally King, a friend of former UK Home Secretary David Blunkett, received £60,000 (€71,500), her husband Andrew received £50,000 (€59,600) and her father and brother received undisclosed damages.

The court heard that 15 new settlements had been reached, including nine of the 10 which were due to be heard at next week's trial.

These claimants were thought to include Ms Church and her parents, Mr Coogan, Mr Andrew, singer Pete Doherty, MP Mr Hughes, Tracey Temple, who had a relationship with Lord Prescott, jockey Kieren Fallon and racing trainer Samantha Wallin and the King family.

Another five cases are unable to be heard on February 13 for technical reasons.

Those are model Elle Macpherson's former adviser Mary Ellen Field, footballer Ryan Giggs, former royal butler Paul Burrell, police officer and 'Crimewatch' regular Jacqui Hames and her husband David Cook, and PR consultant Nicola Phillips.

Irish Independent

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