UK

Cilla Black settles hacking claim for 'substantial' damages

Cilla Black Image copyright Getty Images

Singer Cilla Black is among celebrities to have settled phone-hacking claims for "substantial" damages, the High Court has been told.

Her son Robert Willis, actor Darren Day, EastEnders star Jessie Wallace and singer Peter Andre also settled claims, all against Mirror Group Newspapers.

Their barrister David Sherborne said their privacy was "grossly violated" by the newspapers, "solely for profit".

MGN counsel Matthew Nicklin QC offered "sincere apologies" on its behalf.

The hacking was alleged to have taken place between 2000 and 2006.

Image copyright PA
Image caption From left to right: Peter Andre, Darren Day and Jessie Wallace are the other celebrities who have settled claims

Mr Sherborne read out statements on behalf of Ms Black, her son and manager Mr Willis, Mr Andre, Mr Day and Ms Wallace as well as for a further five people whose settlements have previously been reported.

They are the former head coach of the England football team, Sven-Goran Eriksson, actor Christopher Eccleston, David and Victoria Beckham's former nanny Abbie Gibson, actor Shane Richie's wife Christie Roche and his friend and agent Phil Dale.

He said: "In summary, these 10 individuals all bring claims that cover unlawful activity by each of the three newspaper titles [the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People] over a lengthy period.

"They have all expressed their feelings of distress and anger that their private information has been treated in this way, and their privacy has been so grossly violated by these newspapers solely for profit."

'Damage and distress'

Mr Nicklin said that MGN "accepts that the methods which were used to obtain private information about these 10 individuals through the unlawful accessing of their voicemails and the obtaining of their personal information should never have been employed" and that there was "no legitimate justification" for doing so.

He added: "MGN is here today, through me, to offer its sincere apologies to these claimants for the damage and distress caused to them by hacking into their voicemail messages and by obtaining private information about them, including the use of blagging."

Mr Nicklin said that MGN was paying "substantial sums by way of damages and their reasonable costs".

No damages figures were announced as part of the statements read to the court.

Image copyright Getty Images/BBC
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Shane Richie, Shobna Gulati, Lucy Benjamin and Alan Yentob, who were among the first to bring claims against the newspaper group

Other celebrities have previously taken action against MGN, which is a subsidiary of Trinity Mirror, and filed claims over alleged hacking.

In September last year Trinity Mirror admitted for the first time that some of its journalists had been involved in phone hacking, and said it would pay compensation to four people.

They were entertainer Shane Richie, soap actresses Shobna Gulati and Lucy Benjamin, and BBC creative director Alan Yentob.

At the time the company was thought to have set aside between £8m and £9m to settle phone hacking claims and legal costs.

Scores of people have also reached similar settlements with the publisher of the now-defunct News Of The World after taking legal action.

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