A former senior police officer whose mobile phones were hacked and “medical information” obtained for stories published by The Sun and The News of the World has accepted damages from the publisher of the tabloid newspapers.
Stephen Chamberlain, a former assistant chief constable with South Yorkshire Police, and his wife Helen were today among the latest victims of illegal newsgathering to settle compensation claims arising from the scandal which has so far cost Rupert Murdoch’s media empire nearly £217m.
The model and celebrity Katie Price and two others had their damages cases concluded at the High Court in London, leaving a further 26 claims arising from alleged phone hacking, bribing of public officials and computer hacking still outstanding. The court heard that Ms Price, who received undisclosed damages on behalf of the NOTW, had suffered intrusion into not only her voicemails but also text messages and emails.
News Group Newspapers, the Murdoch subsidiary which publishes The Sun and used to publish the defunct Sunday tabloid, said it offered “sincere apologies” to all five victims.
Mr Chamberlain, who left the South Yorkshire force in 2006, was the subject of articles published by The Sun and the News of the World in 2003 making public his relationship with his now wife, a detective superintendent with Nottinghamshire Police who at the time was also serving in South Yorkshire.
Although the involvement of the NOTW in phone hacking has been widely acknowledged, it is unusual for The Sun to be named in a voicemail interception case.
The court heard that the couple discovered in 2012 that their mobile phone numbers, addresses and the names and whereabouts of relatives had been discovered in the records of a private detective employed by the NOTW.
On a separate occasion, an appointment attended by Mrs Chamberlain in September 2003 was the subject of an article in The Sun.
Kirsten Sjovell, for the couple, said they felt they had been “placed under surveillance”.
She said: “They were extremely distressed to learn that they had been targeted in this way and that private details relating to medical information and their advisers had been obtained by [NGN].
“[NGN] now accepts that it targeted the claimants at least in 2003 and was responsible for the publication of their private information in both The Sun and The News of the World.”
Mr Chamberlain was the subject the lurid and false allegations in a separate Sunday newspaper about his previous marriage for which he received £65,000 in damages for libel.
The three other cases settled for undisclosed sums involved Ms Price, The Only Way is Essex star Lauren Pope and former Hollyoaks actress and model Gemma Atkinson. All three said through their lawyers that they considered themselves “fully vindicated”.
NGN is also facing nine new damages claims relating to the illegal newsgathering scandal, including a case filed by former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. A deadline for further cases has been extended to 15 December.
A claim by the broadcaster Michael Barrymore is expected to be settled later this month.