Police officer who was friend of Barrymore sues over hacking

 

A gay police officer apparently targeted for his friendship with television personality Michael Barrymore, a former Labour minister and the ex-wife of rock star Noel Gallagher yesterday became the latest people to lodge damages claims for phone hacking against Rupert Murdoch's News International.

The three lawsuits lodged in the High Court by Dan Lichters, Claire Ward and Meg Matthews add to the burgeoning list of about 30 damages claims already brought against the defunct News of the World and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire which are now likely to cost Mr Murdoch's empire far more than the £20m originally set aside to settle.

The new claims, which are being brought by the London-based law firm Collyer Bristow following the disclosure of documents showing that each claimant was targeted by Mr Mulcaire, raise allegations that the private detective was used to hack into the voicemails of a serving police officer. Mr Lichters was working as a plain clothes officer in the Met Police when his relationship with Mr Barrymore was revealed in the months following the death of Stuart Lubbock, whose body was found in the television star's swimming pool after a party in March 2001.

The openly gay constable revealed later that he had been removed from his undercover duties as a result of the publicity about his friendship with Mr Barrymore, which began at least six months after Mr Lubbock's death. A story revealing the relationship was published by The Sun on 2 November 2001 along with a photograph of the two men out shopping. Mr Lichters' lawyer last night declined to comment on whether his lawsuit complained of articles in The Sun, the sister paper of the News of the World.

Ms Ward won her Watford seat in Labour's 1997 landslide, and was promoted to a junior justice minister in 2009. She lost her seat in 2010. Ms Matthews became a tabloid favourite following her relationship Oasis founder Noel Gallagher. Matthews, now a successful interior designer, divorced from Gallagher in 2001.

Steven Heffer, at Collyers Bristow, last night declined to comment on any details of the claims. News International said last night it was unable to comment on individual damages claims being made against it.

The lawsuits came as Scotland Yard announced it had extended the police bail of a detective involved in Operation Weeting, the Yard's investigation into phone hacking. The 51-year-old detective constable, who was arrested on suspicion of passing information about the inquiry to The Guardian, will answer bail on 15 December.

Former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck has dropped an attempt to make News International continue the payment of his wages while he sues the newspaper for unfair dismissal. His case was due to start today but has been put back to a later date.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future