Celebrities settle phone-hacking claims
Dozens of celebrities and politicians, including Jude Law and Lord Prescott, have now settled damages claims over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, the High Court heard today.
Shaun Russell, whose wife and daughter were killed in Kent in 1996, and Sara Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah, are also among 36 claimants who have reached settlements.
Details of some of the deals were given in court today.
Actress and designer Sadie Frost has received £50,000 in damages. Labour MP Chris Bryant received £30,000. Footballer Ashley Cole has also received damages but the figure was not disclosed.
The deals mean that 36 damages claims being brought against News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of the now-defunct News of the World, have been settled.
But Mark Thomson, of law firm Atkins Thomson, who represents some of the claimants, said others would press ahead with a trial scheduled for next month..
Others whose settlements were confirmed today include former cavalry officer James Hewitt, who had an affair with Diana, Princess of Wales, former MP George Galloway, Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson, singer Dannii Minogue, Calum Best, the son of George Best, and Meg Matthews, the ex-wife of former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher.
Mr Thomson said: "All of the claimants have been extremely brave to take on and succeed against a massive and influential multinational media organisation.
"They can take the credit for triggering the new police investigation, the parliamentary inquiries and the Leveson Inquiry. They should be very pleased with what they have achieved.
"A number of claimants are still pursuing the matter to trial and, as a result, NGN will continue to disclose further information and evidence."
The court heard today that Gavin Henson is to receive £40,000 in damages. Jude Law's personal assistant Ben Jackson also receives £40,000.
Tamsin Allen, of law firm Bindmans, said: "The claimants now have some clarity about what happened to them in the years between 2000 and 2005 and satisfaction that justice has finally been done.
"Many of them have wondered for years how tabloid newspapers were able to obtain secret personal information about them, even suspecting their closest friends and relatives.
"Lives have been severely affected by this cavalier approach to private information and the law.
"News Group's misguided decision to defend claims aggressively made matters worse."
The phone-hacking saga began with the conviction in 2007 of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman.
At the time NGN said the hacking, involving the voicemails of royal aides, was an isolated incident.
But the settlement of legal action by Professional Footballers' Association boss Gordon Taylor and PR man Max Clifford led to speculation that phone hacking was more widespread.
As more details of the scandal emerged last summer, NGN took the decision to close the News of the World and Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry to examine the behaviour of the press.
The court heard that Jude Law receives £130,000 in damages.
Lord Prescott receives £40,000 in damages and Labour MP Denis MacShane receives £32,500, the court heard.