Interior designer Kelly Hoppen today accepted a £60,000 in settlement over her High Court action over the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
The announcement was made at a hearing in London. Her lawyer Mark Thomson told Mr Justice Vos that her action was for “misuse of private information and breach of confidence”.
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He said two defendants – News International Supply Company Limited and News Group Newspapers – “have agreed to pay £60,000 to the claimant as damages as well as her costs, to be assessed if not agreed”.
Thomson said that in 2004 and 2006 Hoppen “was the subject of numerous articles published in the News of the World, which contained intrusive and private information”.
He added: “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.
“In 2009, as a result of the claimant’s long held concerns, her solicitors, Atkins Thomson, wrote to the Metropolitan Police Service asking whether they had any evidence that the claimant had been targeted by News Group Newspapers Limited in 2004-2006.
“The claimant was initially informed that the police had no evidence to suggest that she had been a target in 2004 and 2006.
“However, in February 2011, they contacted the claimant to inform her that they had since discovered evidence that she had in fact been a target over this period.”
Thomson told the judge that on April 5 this year Hoppen served her particulars of claim against defendants including private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and News Group Newspapers for misuse of private information and breach of confidence.
The particulars also made claims in respect of “alleged interceptions in 2009 and 2010”, he said. On April 8, News Group Newspapers “admitted liability for misuse of private information and breach of confidence in respect of the 2004-2006 part of her claim”.
Thomson continued: “This meant that an attempt, which may have been successful, had been made to obtain confidential and private information by the unlawful access of the claimant’s voicemail messages and that her confidentiality and privacy were breached. News Group accepted that these activities should not have taken place.”
He announced: “The parties have now agreed to settle their differences in respect of all the claims brought by the claimant.”
An injunction had also been granted by the court, he said, “preventing any further unlawful accessing of the claimant’s voicemail messages”.
Hoppen “considers that she is fully vindicated in respect of her claim”.
Michael Silverleaf QC, counsel for News Group Newspapers, told Mr Justice Vos that the defendant “is here today through me to confirm that the parties have agreed to settle their differences in respect of all the claims brought by the claimant”.
He added that News Group “also takes this opportunity to repeat the sincere and unreserved apology it made in April 2011”.