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Gazza's phone-hacking 'distress'

Ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne suffered "mental harm and distress" after his phone messages were hacked by the News of the World, the High Court has been told.

And comedian Steve Coogan complained that neither "the police nor the Government" had been willing to hold hackers to account.

Both men were among a list of celebrities and politicians whose hacking damages claims have been settled, a judge heard.

Gascoigne accepted a £68,000 payout from News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers and Coogan £40,000, Mr Justice Vos was told at a hearing in London.

Lawyers said high profile figures who had now also agreed settlements with News Group included: Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes, politician George Galloway, former Labour communications director Alastair Campbell, sports agent Sky Andrew and Phil Hughes, who was an agent for late footballer George Best.

Simon Hughes had accepted £45,000, Mr Galloway £25,000, Mr Campbell "substantial" damages, Mr Andrew £75, 000 and Phil Hughes "substantial" damages, lawyers told the court.

Details of the effect hacking had on Gascoigne were given to the judge in a statement prepared by the former Newcastle, Tottenham and England star's solicitor, Gerald Shamash.

"(News Group) has recognised that its activities have had a seriously detrimental effect on the well-being of Mr Gascoigne, including mental harm and distress," said the statement. "(News Group) has apologised."

"Mr Gascoigne was worried that the information was being obtained by bugging or tapping his telephone conversations, as a result of which he was accused of being paranoid," said the statement. "In addition, Mr Gascoigne was worried that the information was being given to the News of the World by his friends of family, as a result of which he fell out with several of his friends and family."

Lawyers said News Group admits that some private information had been obtained from intercepted voicemail messages.


From Belfast Telegraph