Heather Mills has spoken out after receiving a ‘substantial sum’ for the phone hacking scandal and claim against the News of the World. She has said she feels ‘joy and vindication’ after settling her case and receiving a public apology.
News of the World was once Britain’s best selling Sunday newspaper and closed business after 168 years in print, following revelations of the phone hacking scandal and conspiracy.
Initially, the newspaper denied any knowledge of the conspiracy and alleged that rogue staff had acted alone. Eventually Rupert Murdoch made the decision to close the newspaper in 2011, when it was revealed that a teenager who was abducted and murdered had her voicemails hacked by the publisher.
Heather Mills, who was married to Sir Paul McCartney, was one of hundreds of individuals who were victim to the phone hacking scandal and told the court that it had “an extremely detrimental impact on my personal life and that of my family”.
The court heard that suspicion started to arise when private information began appearing in newspapers “without any apparent identifiable source”.
Ms Mills and her sister Fiona Mills were said to have experienced “strange activity with their telephones” and reported “journalists and photographers turning up in unexpected locations”.
Nearly 150 articles published in News of the World and The Sun between 1999 and 2008 were used as part of the claim against News Group Newspapers (NGN).
Heather Mills received a substantial sum from her claim which was settled on the basis that NGN made no admission of liability in relation to the phone hacking scandal or information gathering at The Sun.
Speaking outside court yesterday, Ms Mills said: “We have been awarded the highest media libel settlement in British legal history and, with it, a complete and unmitigated apology for the criminal, targeted smear campaign waged against us by News Group Newspapers, including hacking, invasion of privacy, and the publication of countless falsehoods and lies.”
News Group Newspapers publicly apologised to Heather and Fiona Mills. Ben Silverstone, for NGN, said: “The defendant is here today, through me, to offer its sincere apologies to Ms Heather Mills and Ms Fiona Mills 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 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.”
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