Heather Mills feels 'joy and vindication' over phone-hacking settlement

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media captionHeather Mills: "The feeling I have is one of joy and vindication"

Campaigner Heather Mills said she feels vindicated after settling her phone-hacking case against the News of the World for a "substantial" sum.

An apology from News Group Newspapers to her and her sister, Fiona Mills, was read out at a High Court hearing.

The publisher offered "sincere apologies" for "distress caused to them by the invasion of their privacy".

The businesswoman said her charity work suffered due to the "destruction" of her reputation.

The court heard that the sisters had experienced "strange activity with their telephones" with "journalists and photographers turning up in unexpected locations".

They said they had seen stories published in newspapers which included private information "without any apparent identifiable source".

These publications "caused a lot of distrust and suspicion" that a family member or friend was "betraying them and selling stories to the press", a statement from the sisters said.

Speaking outside court after the case, Heather Mills said the settlement stemmed from activity carried out between 1999 to 2010.

She said: "The feeling that I have is one of joy and vindication", adding that her "motivation to win the decade-long fight stemmed from a desire to obtain justice".

Ms Mills, who was married to Sir Paul McCartney, said the phone hacking had "an extremely detrimental impact on my personal life and that of my family".

She said it had also adversely affected her landmine and animal charities and their "ability to raise funds".

The Mills' claims were settled on the basis that NGN made no admission of liability in relation to their allegations of voicemail interception or other unlawful information gathering at The Sun.

In her statement, Ms Mills spoke of the "highest media libel settlement in British legal history".

However, her case was a privacy, rather than a libel, claim and it was not initially clear if Ms Mills was referring to the amount of all those who have settled privacy claims against NGN over phone hacking so far.

Her solicitor, Mark Thomson of Atkins Thomson, has since confirmed that Ms Mills was referring to her own claim against NGN.

A group which represents victims of the phone hacking scandal said in May that the total bill for newspaper publishers could reach £1bn.

Hacked Off's Nathan Sparks told the BBC there could be many hundreds or thousands more still to make claims.

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