The actress Sienna Miller is poised to become the latest litigant to join a growing queue of high-profile figures seeking damages from the publishers of the News of the World newspaper over the illegal hacking of voicemail messages.
It also emerged last night that Sean Hoare, the reporter whose testimony was central to The New York Times's article that reignited the phone-hacking controversy, has been interviewed by police under caution.
The favourite cover girl of magazine editors and the star of such films as Alfie and Layer Cake is understood to have discovered that her mobile phone was targeted by Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator hired by the News of the World at a cost of £100,000-a-year. Mulcaire was jailed for six months in January 2007 for phone hacking.
Mulcaire admitted hacking into the voicemail messages of aides to the royal family as well as several high-profile figures including Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association and Max Clifford, the publicist. Both Mr Taylor and Mr Clifford have taken action against Rupert Murdoch's News Group, the publishers of the News of the World, and both claims were settled out of court for around £1m each.
Since then a succession of other individuals have begun actions after seeking confirmation from Scotland Yard that their names were on a list of people he was targeting.
Miller, who reportedly noticed that a number of her messages were described as being "old" even though she had not listened to them, is understood to be intending to join a legal action being brought by Bindmans, a firm of London solicitors which is seeking a judicial review of Scotland Yard's failure to warn individuals whom it knew to be on Mulcaire's list of targets. The action is also being supported by the former deputy prime minister, John Prescott, the Labour MP Chris Bryant, Brian Paddick, a former deputy assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police and Brendan Montague, a journalist. Among other high-profile figures who have recently announced their intention to seek damages from News Group are the actor and comedian Steve Coogan, who has learned from Scotland Yard that he was a "person of interest" to Mulcaire, and the broadcaster Chris Tarrant.
News Group has consistently denied that there was a culture of phone hacking among News of the World journalists and has told MPs that Goodman and Mulcaire were rogue operators.
Fighting their corner
Sienna Miller is one of several public figures – including the former deputy prime minister John Prescott, the ex-deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Brian Paddick, the Labour frontbench spokesman Chris Bryant, the journalist Brendan Montague, the former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik, the radio and TV presenter Vanessa Feltz, the former Respect MP George Galloway – who are considering action, have launched legal proceedings or called for a judicial review of the police conduct in the case.
They all learnt that their personal details were among those seized from the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed for his role in the affair, yet were not immediately informed by detectives.