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News of the World publisher pays phone-hacking victims

Thursday January 19, 2012 08:00:07 PM, IANS

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London: Dozens of celebrities and politicians have settled damages claims over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, the Telegraph reported Thursday.

Actor Jude Law, politician Lord Prescott, 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 the high court Thursday.

Actress and designer Sadie Frost has received 50,000 pounds in damages. Labour MP Chris Bryant received 30,000 pounds. Footballer Ashley Cole has also received damages but the figure was not disclosed, the newspaper said.

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 Thursday 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.

Thomson said: "All of the claimants have been extremely brave to take on and succeed against a massive and influential multinational media organisation."

"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 paper quoted him as saying.

The News of the World (NoW) newspaper, which ceased publication July 10, 2011, has been illicitly hacking into the voicemail messages of prominent people to find stories.

It admitted intercepting voicemails in April last year after years of rumour that the practice was widespread, and amid intense pressure from those who believed they had been victims.

The paper ceased publication after fresh allegations. The final edition signed off with headline "Thank you and goodbye" and included an apology.




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