Steve Coogan reaches phone hacking settlement

Actor famous for playing Alan Partridge accepts £40,000 to resolve his claim against News Group Newspapers

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Actor Steve Coogan was among a group of 15 individuals whose cases for damages over phone hacking were settled this morning.

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News Group Newspapers (NGN), the Murdoch-owned News Corp subsidiary that published the now-defunct Sunday tabloid The News of the World paid the actor £40,000 to resolve his case.

The high court heard that only one of the cases filed against the News of the World – that of Charlotte Church – was still outstanding, but that a further five suits have been brought.

Coogan was joined by individuals including the former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, ex-footballer Paul Gascoine, Simon Hughes MP and singer Pete Doherty in settling his claim today.

Following these settlements, many of the so-called ‘test cases’ due to go to court next week will now no longer take place.

It is estimated that the total cost of compensation for phone hacking claims may run into millions of pounds for News Corp.

The phone hacking scandal, which prompted an inquiry in to media standards and ethics by Lord Justice Leveson, first emerged in 2006 when Clive Goodman, who worked as the News of the World’s royal correspondent, and private investigator Glen Mulcaire were jailed for illegally accessing the voicemails of the royal family and its staff.  

Further revelations of hacking connected with the newspaper came to light over the next four years.  However, the scandal became a source of public outrage when it was revealed in July 2011 that the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had been hacked.

The newspaper was promptly closed, ending 168 years of publication, and News Corp issued an apology to eight individuals who had filed breach of privacy claims against the paper, including Coogan, who went on to become one of News Corp’s most high profile opponents as the scandal unfolded.

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Speaking on Newsnight, the comedian revealed his disdain for the defunct newspaper, saying: “Let’s not forget that the News of the World is, as far as I’m concerned – and always has been – misogynistic, xenophobic, single parent-hating, asylum seeker-hating… and it’s gone to the wall, and I’m delighted!”