Bake Off host Noel Fielding and other high-profile figures settle newspaper phone-hacking claims
Great British Bake Off host Noel Fielding and Ryan Giggs’ estranged brother Rhodri Giggs have accepted “substantial damages” from the publisher of the News of the World over phone-hacking.
At a hearing in London on Thursday, Alex Cochrane, a solicitor representing Mr Fielding, said the Mighty Boosh star had identified a number of articles published between 2006 and 2010 which he claimed contained his private information and were “suspicious”.
Mr Cochrane told the court: “During this time, Mr Fielding used his voicemail extensively and he would regularly receive and leave voicemail messages for his family and close friends.
“Mr Fielding further claimed that, as a result of these publications, he became suspicious as to who might be the source of the private information that was being published … and it was alleged that the publication of the articles generated distrust which impacted his relationships and caused him considerable distress.”
In relation to Mr Giggs, Mr Cochrane said: “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.”
Sadie Frost’s mother and sister, Mary and Jane Davidson, also formally settled damages claims against News Group Newspapers (NGN) over “suspicious” articles containing unlawfully-gathered private information, the High Court heard.
Ex-footballer Ally McCoist, David Beckham’s former personal assistant Rebecca Loos, and Ricky Tomlinson’s wife Rita Tomlinson have all accepted damages and their “reasonable legal costs” from NGN for alleged phone-hacking.
Babyshambles guitarist Patrick Walden, Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett and Vic Reeves’ ex-wife Sarah Vincent are also among the high-profile names to settle claims for unlawful information-gathering.
Film and theatre producer Bradley Adams, model Zoe Grace and Coronation Street and Shameless actor Chris Bisson made up the total of 13 people who formally settled their claims for misuse of private information at the hearing before Mr Justice Mann.
NGN’s barrister, Ben Silverstone, made the same statement in relation to all of the claimants, saying: “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.”
Since the phone-hacking scandal led to the closure of the News of the World in 2011, NGN has settled a number of damages claims in relation to unlawful information-gathering – but the publisher has never admitted liability in relation to alleged phone hacking at the Sun.