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.”
Hacking trial: The verdicts in full
Hacking trial: The verdicts in full
1/7 Rebekah Brooks
The former News of the World editor and News International chief executive has been cleared of conspiracy to hack phones; misconduct in public office for allegedly signing off payments to a Sun journalist's 'number one military contact' between 2004 and 2012; conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after seven boxes were allegedly removed from the NI archive just days before 2011 arrests
2/7 Andy Coulson
Former News of the World editor and Downing Street spin doctor guilty of conspiracy to hack phones from 2000 to 2006. The jury failed to reach a majority verdict on charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office by allegedly paying police officers for two royal directories. He could face a retrial.
3/7 Stuart Kuttner
Retired managing editor cleared of involvement in phone-hacking conspiracy spanning six years
4/7 Cheryl Carter
Brooks' former personal assistant, cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by removing seven boxes from the News International company archive just days before she was arrested in 2011
5/7 Charlie Brooks
Racehorse trainer and Rebekah Brooks' husband, cleared of perverting the course of justice around the time of police searches in July 2011
6/7 Mark Hanna
Former News International director of security, cleared of perverting the course of justice
7/7 Clive Goodman
The former News of the World royal editor, could face a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict on charges of committing misconduct in public office for allegedly paying police officers for two royal directories
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.Reuse content