The publisher of the News of the World and the Metropolitan Police have paid damages to EastEnders actor Steve McFadden.
McFadden, who plays Phil Mitchell in the BBC programme, sued News Group Newspapers over the interception of his voicemails. The publisher was also sued along with the Met Police for private information being sold about him.
The settlement comes after a police officer and former NoW journalist Dan Evans pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit misconduct in the public office, after the officer sold information about a raid on McFadden’s house for £750. The information led to a front page story for the News of the World.
McFadden also claimed damages over another incident in which he was arrested after false information was provided to the police.
Law firm Bindmans, which represented McFadden, said in a statement today that McFadden had arranged to visit the police station voluntarily but that the appointment was cancelled. He was then arrested early in the morning with a photographer present.
Information about the arrest was published in the now defunct paper and McFadden believes the information was provided to the paper by police unlawfully.
The law firm said that the Met Police and News Group Newspapers apologised to McFadden in court today “for the intrusion into his privacy” and that they have agreed to pay substantial damages and legal costs.
McFadden said: “For years, false and private information about me has appeared in the press. Although I am pleased to finally understand how some of this information came to be published, I am particularly concerned that a police officer sold my privacy to a tabloid newspaper for profit. I consider the payment of damages and public apology will go some way to ensuring respect for my and others’ privacy in future. I am glad to have been vindicated and to be able to put this matter behind me.”
His solicitor, Tamsin Allen of Bindmans LLP, said: “This is a case where there was no possible public interest in the sale of this information. An officer failed in his duty to the public by seeking a private profit from a newspaper that was prepared to corrupt a public servant. This was the reality of journalism at the News of the World.”