News of the World phone hacking: Noel Fielding latest to win damages – The Guardian


The Great British Bake Off presenter Noel Fielding and Ryan Giggs’s brother Rhodri have accepted “substantial damages” from the News of the World over phone hacking by journalists.

They are among a number of celebrities and members of the public who have won compensation after the News of the World was closed down in 2011 when it was revealed that reporters at the paper had been hacking people’s phones.

News Group Newspapers apologised for distress caused by the illegal interception of voicemails, which were used to obtain stories.

At a court hearing in London on Thursday, Fielding’s solicitor, Alex Cochrane, said the comedian claimed a number of articles published between 2006 and 2010 had contained his private information and were “suspicious”.

“During this time, Mr Fielding used his voicemail extensively and he would regularly receive and leave voicemail messages for his family and close friends,” Cochrane told the court. “It was alleged that the publication of the articles generated distrust which impacted his relationships and caused him considerable distress.”

Cochrane said of Giggs: “The claimant is pleased to confirm that he has accepted the defendant’s offer to resolve his claim on terms confidential between the parties but which involve the defendant agreeing to pay substantial damages to the claimant as well as his reasonable legal costs of bringing the claim.”

Other victims who settled their claims at the hearing included David and Victoria Beckham’s former personal assistant Rebecca Loos, and relations of the actor Sadie Frost – her mother, Mary Davidson, and sister, Jane Davidson.

Callum Galbraith, a solicitor whose firm, Hamlins, represented everyone at the hearing, apart from the Emmerdale actor Chris Bisson, said: “Getting as full an understanding of NGN’s unlawful acts is critical to many of our clients, but equally many want a full and proper apology acknowledging the considerable distress and lasting damage caused. These public apologies achieve that.”

Ben Silverstone, NGN’s barrister, said: “The defendant is here today, through me, to offer its sincere apologies to the claimant for the distress caused to [them] by the invasion of [their] privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News of the World.

“The defendant acknowledges that such activity should never have taken place and that it had no right to intrude into the private life of the [claimants] in this way.”

Sir Elton John and the actor Elizabeth Hurley are among those who have already settled their cases.

The legal costs for NGN have run into hundreds of millions of pounds. The publisher has never admitted liability in relation to alleged phone hacking at the Sun.

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