LONDON (AP) — Interior designer Kelly Hoppen has accepted 60,000 pounds ($93,000) in damages for phone hacking from the publisher of the News of the World, lawyers for both sides said Friday.
Hoppen, former stepmother of actress Sienna Miller, is one of scores of people accusing the tabloid of eavesdropping on cell phone voicemails. Her case was due to go to court in January.
Her lawyer, Mark Thomson, told a preliminary hearing that the paper’s publisher had agreed to pay Hoppen the damages, plus legal costs.
He said that between 2004 and 2006, Hoppen was the subject of numerous articles in the paper “which contained intrusive and private information.”
“The claimant did not know the source of this information at the time of publication and often could not understand how it was possible for the News of the World to obtain such private information,” Thomson said.
He said police in February told Hoppen they had found evidence she had been targeted by the newspaper, an allegation the tabloid later admitted.
Michael Silverleaf, lawyer for the tabloid’s publisher, confirmed that “the parties have agreed to settle their differences” and offered a “sincere and unreserved apology” to Hoppen.
More than 60 people have filed court papers alleging their phones were hacked by the News of the World, which was shut down by owner Rupert Murdoch in July after evidence emerged that its reporters had eavesdropped on the telephone voice mail messages of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old who disappeared in 2002 and was later found murdered.
The revelation — and mounting evidence that phone hacking was routine at the newspaper — shook Murdoch’s media empire, and sent tremors through Britain’s political, police and media establishments.