Hacking victims to receive damages


Seven public figures will receive compensation after their phone-hacking claims against the publisher of the News of the World were settled, News International said today.

Former Lib Dem MP Mark Oaten, TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson, former Army officer James Hewitt, 7/7 hero Paul Dadge, celebrities Abi Titmuss and Calum Best, and Michelle Milburn, who is reportedly a theatrical agent, will all receive settlements from News Group Newspapers (NGN), the News International subsidiary which published the News of the World until the tabloid's demise in July.

In a statement, the media group said: "News International can confirm that seven claims against News Group Newspapers and Glenn Mulcaire have been settled following discussions with News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee, acting on behalf of NGN.

"The claims are Mark Oaten, Ulrika Jonsson, Abi Titmuss, Michelle Milburn, Paul Dadge, James Hewitt and Calum Best. NGN has agreed to pay appropriate sums by way of compensation and costs and have expressed regret for the distress caused."

Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne's case that he was a victim of phone hacking also looked close to being resolved.

A lawyer said that Gascoigne's case "is settling" during a brief hearing at the High Court today.

The announcement was made by counsel Jeremy Reed, who represents various claimants in the News of the World phone-hacking claims.

Outside court, lawyers declined to give further details on Gascoigne's action, which was one of the "lead" cases for a trial which is being held early next year.

Mr Oaten said in a statement today: "I am pleased that News International have expressed their regret for the distress caused to me over phone hacking and have agreed substantial compensation.

"I'm glad, after a long period, this issue is finally resolved and I'm able to understand better the actions taken against me by the media.

"I'm grateful to the current team at News International for trying to put wrongs right and settle this honourably.

"Thanks also to Charlotte Harris, my lawyer, for bringing this to my attention in the first place. I will, of course, continue to assist the police and Leveson inquiry with their investigations."

So far News International has confirmed settlements with chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association Gordon Taylor, publicist Max Clifford, TalkSport presenter Andy Gray and interior designer Kelly Hoppen.

Others such as former Labour Cabinet members David Blunkett and Tessa Jowell have also said that they have reached settlements, although News International would not confirm this.