'Sudden flurry' of phone-hacking victims come forward

A “sudden flurry” of new phone-hacking complainants emerged yesterday – raising the total figure to more than 60.

According to The Guardian, among the new complainants is Shaun Russell, whose daughter Josie survived a hammer attack in which her mother and sister were killed in 1996.

The paper today reports that other complainants include Sarah’s Law campaigner Sara Payne, 7/7 hero Paul Dadge, singer Dannii Minogue, and Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell.

The Guardian said the ‘sudden flurry of writs’was due to a judicial cut-off point for initial claims, which was ‘triggered by a deadline set by Mr Justice Vos to consider claims ahead of a January trial of a few test cases to determine how much News International should pay in damages to five of the victims”.

Among the other victims to have come forward are Alastair Campbell and politicians John Prescott, Simon Hughes, Denis MacShane, Chris Bryant, Mark Oaten, Tessa Jowell and George Galloway.

Others include actors Jude Law and Sadie Frost, TV personalities Steve Coogan and Ulrika Jonsson, footballer Ashley Cole, rugby player Gavin Henson and jockey Kieren Fallon.

While the majority of claims have been issued jointly against News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, The Guardian reports that one claim by singer Cornelia Crisan also names former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck in her writ.

The paper claimed this was the first phone-hacking lawsuit to target Thurlbeck.

Today’s report said:

The number and range of the claims has taken some legal observers by surprise. One source said it suggests that News International’s £20m contingency fund to deal with legal claims will not be anywhere near enough to cover the final total.

Mark Lewis, a lawyer for a number of phone-hacking victims, told Bloomberg:

So far, fewer than 5 per cent of the victims of Glenn Mulcaire have been notified. He was just one agent used by one paper. When the final tally takes place, we will see thousands of claims and more than one paper.

The Bloomberg report adds:

Mr Lewis said that, as the number of plaintiffs grows, his own estimate that the New York-based company would need at least £100-million to settle such claims looks like “a serious underestimate”.

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