NI settles with hacking victims amid new cover-up claims
Jude Law, Ashley Cole and John Prescott are among victims paid damages by News International
THE NAMES of celebrities who have received payouts from News International after having their phones hacked by the News of the World were revealed at the High Court today, and there were fresh allegations of a cover-up.
Among those who accepted damages were Jude Law (above), who was paid £130,000, and his ex-wife Sadie Frost, who received £50,000. Sports stars Gavin Henson, who was given £40,000, and Ashley Cole were also named.
Politicians listed included John Prescott. Celebrities Dannii Monogue, Meg Matthews and Calum Best also settled. There were payouts, too, for people connected to celebrities, and crime victims including Sara Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah, and Shaun Russell, whose wife and daughter were killed.
"The publisher has now reached settlements with 36 victims of the defunct tabloid's hacking, but at least two dozen other claims have been lodged against it and hundreds more may follow," reports The Times.
The Guardian says the size of the settlements will "provide an informal tariff for the other 742 victims who Scotland Yard has confirmed had their phones hacked by the tabloid newspaper."
Those who have not settled – among them Steve Coogan and Charlotte Church - will continue to a trial scheduled for next month. News International has set aside £20m to cover the costs of the hacking, but it is now possible they will end up paying much more than that.
There were more accusations against the company. In a statement read to the court it was claimed that Christopher Shipman, the son of mass murderer Harold Shipman, was told by police in August last year that his emails had been intercepted on behalf of News Group Newspapers.
There was also a significant new allegation from law firm Bindmans, which said that News International had tried to "deceive the police and public" over the scale of the hacking.
"The most significant new element of Thursday's hacking settlement announcements is the accusation by the hacking victims' lawyers that Murdoch company directors tried to destroy evidence," wrote David Leigh in The Guardian.