UK

News of the World apologises to Sienna Miller

Sienna Miller
Image caption Sienna Miller's lawyers say she was the subject of numerous articles containing intrusive details

The News of the World's owner has formally apologised in court to the actress Sienna Miller for hacking into several of her mobile phones.

News Group newspapers said sorry for what it called the "harassment and distress" it had caused.

The 29-year-old actress, who was not at London's High Court, formally settled for £100,000 damages and costs.

Four alleged victims of phone hacking have already reached out-of-court settlements with the newspaper.

New numbers

Ms Miller's counsel, David Sherborne, said the actress had been the subject of numerous articles in 2005 and 2006 which contained "intrusive and private information".

He said Ms Miller had not known the source of the information, much of which was only known to trusted friends and family.

"The claimant did not know whether someone close to her was leaking information or whether her mobile telephone was somehow being hacked into. Both possibilities were extremely distressing for the claimant."

Ms Miller had considerable concerns about the security of her mobile phone after callers hung up on her and voicemail messages were missed, her counsel said.

She tried to protect herself by changing her number three times, he added.

News Group's counsel, Michael Silverleaf QC, offered its "sincere apologies" to Ms Miller for the damage and distress caused.

It acknowledged the information should never have been obtained in the way it was, the private information should never have been published and it had accepted liability.

Mr Sherborne said Ms Miller first issued proceedings for misuse of private information, breach of confidence and harassment in October 2010, after documents were disclosed by the Metropolitan Police.

Two months ago, News Group made an unconditional admission of liability.

"This meant that News Group accepted that confidential and private information had been obtained by the unlawful access of the claimant's voicemail messages, that confidential and private information had been published as a result, and that there had been an invasion of her privacy, breaches of confidence and a campaign of harassment for over 12 months," he added.

The court granted Ms Miller an injunction preventing any further unlawful accessing of her voicemail and publication of her private information.

Celebrities

The News of the World's apology to Ms Miller is the latest development in a scandal which dates back to 2006, when the paper's former royal editor, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for hacking into royal aides' voicemails.

Since then, a series of inquiries and legal cases have explored just how widespread the practice was, with implications for the police, celebrities and politicians.

More and more celebrities and public figures have alleged their phones have been hacked and some have launched legal actions against the paper, or the police for allegedly failing to investigate.

News International, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, has offered to co-operate fully with a Metropolitan Police inquiry.

The News of the World's chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, 50, and former news editor Ian Edmondson, 42, were arrested in April on suspicion of having unlawfully intercepted voicemail messages. They were released on bail until September.

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