Paul O’Grady settles News of the World phone hacking claim

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TV and radio star Paul O’Grady has settled a phone hacking claim against the publisher of the News of the World.

The gay comedian and entertainer received “substantial” damages as part of the settlement.

A judge heard that News Group Newspapers, publisher of the now defunct News of the World newspaper, accepted that his “voicemail messages were intercepted and that there has been a misuse of his private information”.

The BBC reports the announcement was made yesterday during a hearing at the High Court in London.

Nicola McCann, representing Mr O’Grady, said News Group Newspapers had accepted voicemail interception took place, but said “the full extent of such interception will never be known”.

Mr O’Grady was contacted by police about phone hacking in 2011.

He was “particularly distressed” by the fact that private medical information had been published in an article in the News of the World, the court heard.

“Mr O’Grady specifically recalls that, on one occasion, messages left for him from close friends and family members whilst he was in hospital were deleted and he had never previously been able to understand why,” Ms McCann said.

She told the court that “after considering the details of Mr O’Grady’s claim” News Group Newspapers Limited had accepted messages had been intercepted.

She added: “News Group Newspapers Limited accepts that this activity should never have taken place and it has agreed to apologise to Mr O’Grady and undertake not to repeat such actions.

“It has also agreed to pay Mr O’Grady substantial damages for the distress he has suffered as well as to pay Mr O’Grady’s legal costs incurred in this matter.”

Anthony Hudson QC, for NGN, told the judge: “News Group Newspapers Limited is here today through me to offer its sincere apologies to Mr O’Grady for any distress caused by such interception of his private voicemail messages.

“News Group Newspapers accepts that such activity should never have taken place and has undertaken to the court that this will not happen again.”