UK

Phone hacking: Paul O'Grady settlement with News of the World

Paul O'Grady Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr O'Grady received "substantial damages" from News Group Newspapers, London's High Court heard

Television personality Paul O'Grady has settled a phone hacking claim against the publisher of the News of the World.

Mr O'Grady received "substantial" damages as part of the settlement, the High Court in London heard.

News Group Newspapers - formerly News International - accepted Mr O'Grady's voicemail had been hacked and there was "a misuse of his private information".

The publisher offered its "sincere apologies" to Mr O'Grady, its barrister Anthony Hudson QC told the court.

Nicola McCann, representing Mr O'Grady, said News Group Newspapers had accepted voicemail interception took place, but said "the full extent of such interception will never be known".

Hospital messages

The presenter, best known for his alter ego Lily Savage and his ITV daytime chat show, was contacted by police about phone hacking in 2011.

He was "particularly distressed" by the fact that private medical information had been published in an article in the News of the World, the court heard.

"Mr O'Grady specifically recalls that, on one occasion, messages left for him from close friends and family members whilst he was in hospital were deleted and he had never previously been able to understand why," Ms McCann said.

She told the court that "after considering the details of Mr O'Grady's claim" News Group Newspapers Limited had accepted messages had been intercepted.

She added: "News Group Newspapers Limited accepts that this activity should never have taken place and it has agreed to apologise to Mr O'Grady and undertake not to repeat such actions.

"It has also agreed to pay Mr O'Grady substantial damages for the distress he has suffered as well as to pay Mr O'Grady's legal costs incurred in this matter."

Image copyright AP
Image caption The News of the World closed in 2011 following allegations of hacking

Addressing the court, Mr Hudson QC said: "News Group Newspapers Limited is here today through me to offer its sincere apologies to Mr O'Grady for any distress caused by such interception of his private voicemail messages.

"News Group Newspapers accepts that such activity should never have taken place and has undertaken to the court that this will not happen again."

The settlement is the latest in a long-running series of payments by the publishers of the now defunct News of the World dating back more than five years.

Financial settlements have been made with celebrities including Jude Law, Sienna Miller and Charlotte Church, as well as victims of crimes, sports stars and politicians.

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