Mirror hacking trial: Son of Coronation Street's Shobna Gulati 'was bullied' and ran away from home as a result of stories

Actress accuses Sunday Mirror of invading her privacy with a front-page story in 2003 that speculated on the parentage of her then nine-year-old son

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The Independent Online

A former Coronation Street actress broke down as she told a court how Mirror Group journalists listened to “very deeply personal” voicemails which resulted in the publication of stories that caused her son to be bullied and to run away from home.

Shobna Gulati accused the Sunday Mirror of invading her privacy with a front-page story in 2003 that speculated on the parentage of her then nine-year-old son. It resulted in the boy being “bullied… quite extensively about who his father was”, she said.

The 48-year-old actress, who played Sunita Alahan in the soap, was speaking at a hearing to decide the amount of compensation to be awarded in eight representative cases brought against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).

She had never talked publicly about her son’s father, she said. Shocked at the story being in the paper and not knowing where the information had come from, she was concerned that her new partner had leaked the story.

“Obviously, given the evidence I have seen, he hadn’t, but I accused him and our relationship fell by the wayside.”

 

She said that when her son was 11, he ran away from home after another article appeared saying she had been “dumped” both by her lover and bosses at Coronation Street. The voicemail messages listened to were “very, very deeply personal”, she told the High Court in London.

The television producer Robert Ashworth also gave evidence to Mr Justice Mann today. He is alleged to have been of interest to journalists because of his former relationship with another Coronation Street star, Tracy Shaw, who played Maxine Peacock. Giving evidence about a Sunday Mirror story in March 2003 that claimed their marriage was in trouble, he said the disclosure caused a “huge amount of problems”.

He said that when Ms Shaw saw the article, at a time when they were trying to mend things, it “completely destroyed” the trust between them, as she and her family thought he was the one leaking stories. 

The hearing continues with actress Sadie Frost and Jude Law’s assistant, Ben Jackson, due to give evidence today.