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Phone hacking scandal leads to millions in lawsuits

Mirror group is facing already £1.25m in lawsuit claims, after eight people whose phones were hacked by Mirror Group journalists writing celebrity stories.

Among these are Actress Sadie Frost, winning £260,000 and ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne winning £188,250.

Soap stars Shane Richie, Shobna Gulati and Lucy Benjamin have also received payouts. Another £16m has been set aside by Mirror Group to deal with further claims.

The judge reviewing the claims, says that the scale of damages reflected the invasions of privacy being “so serious and so prolonged”.

Mr Justice Mann added: “The Length, degree and frequency of all this conduct explains why the sums I have awarded are so much greater than historical awards.

“People whose private voicemail messages were hacked so often and for so long, and had very significant parts of their private lives exposed and then reported on, are entitled to significant compensation.”

The hacking of eight claimants’ phones took place at various periods between 1999 and 2009

The other damages, awarded after a three-week hearing at London’s High Court, were:

  • £155,000 to Mr Richie, who plays Alfie Moon in EastEnders.
  • Ms Benjamin – Referred to in court by the real name of Lucy Taggart – received £157.250. She played Lisa Fowler in EastEnders
  • Ms Gulati, Coronation Street’s Sunita Alahan. Was awarded £117, 500
  • £85,000 was given to BBBC creative director Alan Yentob
  • TV producer Robert Ashworth, who was married to Coronation Street actress Tracy Shaw, received £201,250
  • Flight attendant Lauren Alcorn, who had a relationship with footballer Rio Ferdinand, was awarded £72,500

Following the release of the figures, Mr Justice Mann was told that about 70 other claims were outstanding and a further 10 had settled, leading to an increase in money allocated to deal with the hacking claims from £12m to £28m.

Trinity Mirror, which owns Mirror Groups Newspapers (MGN) said “Our initial view of the lengthy judgement is that the basis used for calculating damages is incorrect and we are therefore considering whether to seek permission to appeal.

A “sincere and unreserved” apology for the voicemail interception was released in February, saying it “was unlawful and should never have happened”.

This isn’t the first time the Mirror has been under fire, Naomi Campbell won £3,500 when she sued for the company publishing photographs of her leaving a drug rehabilitation centre.

‘A Lonely Place’

Following the ruling, Ms Frost said she was “relieved” the case was over, also saying the ruling was “closure” for her.

The hacking had left her unable to trust the “closest people in my life”. She said adding: “when you lose trust in your friends and family, it is a very lonely place to be.”

Mr Gascoigne was described by his lawyer as being “delighted” with the result.

The former England international told the hearing that hacking had left him “scared to speak to anybody” on the phone. He said the ordeal had “ruined his life”

He had complained about a sum of 18 articles published by Mirror Newspapers, all of which were accepted to have been product of illegal activity.

Hacked Off, the campaign group formed in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, said it predicted there would be hundreds of further claims.

It also predicted the Mirror Group had underestimated the amount it needed to set aside for compensation “by a factor of 10

About Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a talented freelance writer based in Ottawa. He writes for several blogs and news sources. He has lot’s of hobbies, such as reading, writing, exploring various coffee shops and bars across Ottawa, and enjoying live music. His writing is always easy & fun read as he delivers hard hitting news, and only the truth.
Contact Nick: nick.thornton@youthindependent.com