July 8, 2019 / 12:23 PM / 10 days ago

Heather Mills, others, win settlement over Murdoch group phone hacking

FILE PHOTO: A still image from broadcast footage shows Heather Mills speaking at the Leveson Inquiry at the High Court in central London February 9, 2012. REUTERS/POOL via Reuters TV

LONDON (Reuters) - Heather Mills, ex-wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, said on Monday she and 90 others have won an apology and settlement from Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers after a near decade-long battle over claims of phone hacking.

A public outcry over revelations that journalists on tabloid newspapers hacked into phones to find stories prompted Murdoch to shut down his News of the World newspaper in 2011.

Mills said the settlement from the company, which also publishes The Sun newspaper, stemmed from activity carried out between 1999 and 2010. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.

Ben Silverstone, representing News Group Newspapers, said the company offered its “sincere apologies” to Mills and her sister for the distress caused to them by individuals working for or on behalf of News of the World.

“The defendant accepts that such activity should never have taken place and that it had no right to intrude into the private lives of Ms Heather Mills or Fiona Mills in this way,” he said.

The Mills sisters claimed that they experienced “strange activity with their telephones, journalists and photographers turning up in unexpected locations” and the publication of private information “without any apparent identifiable source”, according to a statement read in court.

The repeated publication of such information “caused a lot of distrust and suspicion” that a friend or family member was “betraying them and selling stories to the press”, the statement said.

The sisters’ claims were settled on the basis that News Group Newspapers made no admission of liability in relation to their allegations of phone hacking at The Sun.

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Jason Neely

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