Belfast Telegraph

George Best’s ex-wife Alex sues over hacking

By Ian Burrell

The former wife of George Best is taking legal action against the owners of the News of the World over allegations that her mobile phone was hacked while the football player lay dying in hospital.

Former model Alex Best lodged papers at the High Court in London yesterday, it was reported.

It is understood they alleged that Ms Best’s phone was hacked while her alcoholic husband was being treated in Cromwell Hospital in west London for liver failure.

The legal papers claim the hacking went on for a long period of time and was very intrusive, Sky News reported.

It was also claimed that they alleged Ms Best was harassed and that long lens photography and surveillance was carried out.

Alex married Best in 1995, divorcing in 2004 just 18 months before George died. Meanwhile, James Murdoch has severed ties with his father's stable of British newspapers.

He resigned from News International following fresh revelations of a corporate cover-up of the company's involvement in phone hacking and bribery of public officials. Mr Murdoch gave up his position as executive chairman only two days after a senior police officer gave evidence that the NI presided over a “culture of illegal payments” at The Sun.

The Leveson Inquiry into media standards also heard on Monday that NI's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, was being privately briefed by Scotland Yard on its original phone hacking inquiry into NI when she was editor of The Sun in 2006.

Ms Brooks, James Murdoch's immediate deputy before her resignation last summer, has been arrested and questioned by detectives working on the inquiries into hacking and bribery.

Yesterday's resignation means that James Murdoch no longer has a responsibility for the company amid growing expectation of an investigation by American authorities into the illicit practices of News Corp's British subsidiary.

James Murdoch remains as News Corp's deputy chief operating officer, holding responsibility for international businesses including Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and BSkyB.

Rupert Murdoch said of his son in a statement: “We are all grateful for James's leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group's strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programmes.”

James Murdoch has had limited involvement in NI , which also publishes The Times and The Sunday Times, since he was promoted to a New York-based role in March last year.

When Rupert Murdoch flew to Britain to oversee last Sunday's launch of a new edition of The Sun, he left James behind and took his elder son, Lachlan, on a tour of the paper's newsroom.

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