Belfast Telegraph

'Substantial' damages for McFadden

Steve McFadden has accepted "substantial damages" from the publishers of the News Of The World newspaper and the Metropolitan Police after taking legal action in the wake of phone hacking revelations.

A police officer had sold information about McFadden - who plays Phil Mitchell in the BBC drama EastEnders - to a News of the World journalist in 2010, a High Court judge has been told.

And Mr Justice Mann heard the 55-year-old star had also been a target of voicemail interception by the same journalist.

Two other celebrities had also accepted damages from News Group Newspapers - which published the News of the World until it closed in 2011 - after taking legal action, the judge was told.

Interior designer Kelly Hoppen, the stepmother of actress Sienna Miller, had sued after evidence emerged that her voicemail messages had been intercepted. Model Keeley Hazell had complained that her messages were targeted.

Agreed settlements of all three claims were announced by lawyers at a High Court hearing in London today.

McFadden, who had sued News Group and the Metropolitan Police for "misuse of private information", said afterwards that he had been particularly concerned that a police officer had "sold my privacy to a tabloid newspaper for profit".

His solicitor, Tamsin Allen, said the actor was one of the first to succeed after taking action against the police as a result of the sale of private information to the press.

She had told the judge that police officer Sam Azouelos had sold private information about McFadden to News of the World journalist Dan Evans.

Evans had admitted misconduct in public office involving the payment of £750 to Azouelos and Azouelos had also admitted misconduct in public office, she said.

And she said Evans had admitted attempting to or "probably intercepting" the actor's voicemail messages.

Ross Kemp - the actor who played Phil Mitchell's brother, Grant, in EastEnders - used to be married to Rebekah Wade, now Rebekah Brooks, who used to be the editor of the News Of The World.

In June, Brooks was found not guilty of conspiring to hack phones and pay public officials following a trial at the Old Bailey.

Mr Justice Mann was today told that Hoppen had taken legal action in 2010 following an attempt to access her voicemails by Evans in 2009.

He heard that in 2013 police had told Hoppen that they had evidence of 23 calls made by Evans to her phone in 2005 and 2006. And he was told that Hoppen had subsequently begun more legal action.

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