Hugh Grant gets an apology from Murdoch

Duchess of York and  Christopher Eccleston also settle hacking cases in High Court

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, actors Hugh Grant and Christopher Eccleston, and the Catholic parish priest of singer Charlotte Church, Father Richard Reardon, were among 17 phone-hacking victims offered  public apologies in the High Court  today by News International.

The “sincere” contrition and undisclosed “substantial” damages for a total of 144 cases, means that 26 victims of the News of the World’s illegal phone-hacking activities, have yet to settle with Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper division in the latest wave of claims.

Among the claimants who opted for a court-room apology were singer James Blunt, Uri Geller, Geoffrey Robinson, the former Labour minister, and Colin Stagg, the man wrongly accused of the murder of Rachel Nickell. Mr Stagg, one of the few to have his damages disclosed, was awarded £15,500.

Those who settled, but opted to keep the terms of the arrangement private, included Cherie Blair QC, the wife of the former prime minister, Ukip leader Nigel Farage, TV presenters Jamie Theakston and Chris Tarrant, Ted Beckham, the father of the former England football captain, former Tory minister Lord Blencathra, actor James Nesbitt, footballer Wayne Rooney, and BBC reporter Tom Mangold.

Lawyers acting for the remaining claimants anticipate around 20 more cases will settle in the next few weeks. However, a sufficient number are expected to remain, pointing to a trial date this summer. Hugh Tomlinson QC, the lead counsel for the victims, told the court that the Metropolitan Police were continuing to identify and notify new people who had been targeted by the News of the World. Mr Tomlinson said a third wave of hacking claimants could not be ruled out and was likely to number “more than 10 but less than 100”.

Those yet to settle their privacy actions with News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of News International, include Princess Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, Chris Eubank, politician Tommy Sheridan, Tara Palmer Tomkinson, entrepreneur Simon Jordan, TV producer Nigel Lythgoe, and former union boss Tony Woodley.

Though the settlement deals were not made public, leading lawyers involved in the process suggested the scale was similar to amounts awarded last year when MP Chris Bryant received £30,000 and Lord Prescott £50,000.

The hearing continued to tread carefully in describing the behaviour of journalists and others at the News of the World over fears of influencing the outcome of criminal trials on phone hacking scheduled for later this year.

The continuing stream of new cases, and the likelihood there will another wave of potentially expensive civil actions, means attempts by News Corp, the parent company of Murdoch’s newspaper division, to draw a line under the phone-hacking scandal has had limited success.

The board of the Murdoch-owned company are planning to hive off their print business into a separate company. That will now take place with the toxicity of phone hacking still prevalent.

Hugh Grant, who said he would be donating part of his settlement to the Hacked Off pressure group, later Tweeted that he wanted his case to go to a full trial, but had been prevented from doing so by libel law restrictions.

All of the victims who settled had their mobile phone voicemails illegally intercepted by journalists or others employed by the News of the World. Some had also been put under surveillance by private investigators employed by the tabloid, which NI closed in 2011.

Hacked off: The targets

Hugh Grant

The actor was a target for the NOTW because of the stories he generated from having “well- known relationships and friendships with various high profile women”.

All the damages Mr Grant received today will go to the Hacked-Off media pressure group.

Christopher Eccleston

The  former Doctor Who actor, took his family on holiday to Cornwall.

An article about the holiday appeared in the NOTW. Mr Eccleston was told his phone had been illegally accessed 16 times and private information obtained.

Hannah Cleaver

Ms Cleaver, a Berlin-based freelance journalist, was targeted for the information that senior journalists at the NOTW thought they could get by hacking her phone.

It was their way of listening in on the competition.

Father Richard Reardon

Among his parishioners in Cardiff was Charlotte Church and her family. The family told him their troubles, sometimes on his mobile phone.

Neither he nor the Churchs knew that the NOTW was intercepting the exchanges.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home