Cilla Black among those taking fresh action against News International

New wave of hacking claims were expected after Met launched Operation Pinetree

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The Independent Online

TV presenter Cilla Black has been identified as one of six individuals to have launched new claims against News International over alleged phone hacking at the News of the World.

Others who are taking action against Rupert Murdoch’s UK company include the actor Rhys Ifans, and the 2005 Big Brother winner, Anthony Hutton.

Ms Black was a pop star in the 1960s and 1970s who successfully crossed over into television as a presenter of hit shows such as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise. Content and background from the programmes were regularly the focus of tabloid interest.

A new wave of hacking claims had been expected following Scotland Yard’s launch of Operation Pinetree, which is investigating allegations against journalists who worked mainly on the features desk of the NOTW.

At the case management hearing before Mr Justice Vos, the court heard that 26 hacking actions were still on the register of claims against News International.

Six claims were recently settled. These include Louise Woodward, the former British au pair  who, then aged 19, was jailed in the United States in 1997 for the involuntary manslaughter of the child in her care, eight-month- old Matthew Eappen. 

In addition to a potential new wave of phone-hacking claims, the court learned that legal action linked to the Met’s anti-bribery investigation, Operation Elveden, may also be brought against NI.

Hugh Tomlinson, QC, one of the lawyers representing hacking victims, said between five and 10 claims relating to Eleveden were likely to be lodged.

A further 200 claims are currently being dealt with by the private internal compensation scheme set up by NI, which has since closed its doors to new claims.