Was Published

2 months ago

News Source: abc.net.au
Heather Mills Wins Settlement From Murdoch Group Over News Of The World Phone Hacking
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Heather Mills Wins Settlement Over News Of The World Phone-hacking Scandal

Heather Mills, the ex-wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, and her sister have won an apology and settlement from Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers after a nearly decade-long battle over claims of phone hacking.

Ms Mills and her sister Fiona Mills both received a formal apology in Britain's High Court on Monday (local time).

The settlement from the company, which also publishes The Sun newspaper, stemmed from activity carried out between 1999 and 2010.

In a statement read outside the court, Ms Mills said she felt "joy and vindication" at the ruling.

"My motivation to win this decade-long fight stemmed from a desire to obtain justice, not only for my family, my charities and myself, but for the thousands of innocent members of the public who, like me, have suffered similar ignominious, criminal treatment at the hands of one of the world's most powerful media groups," Ms Mills said.

A public outcry over revelations that journalists on tabloid newspapers hacked into phones to find stories prompted Murdoch to shut down his News of the World newspaper in 2011.

Ms Mills is one of a number of celebrities who have received settlements in the prolonged scandal.

The paper was found to have hacked into the voicemail of many prominent Britons in a gross violation of privacy.

Ben Silverstone, representing News Group Newspapers, said the company offered its "sincere apologies" to Ms Mills and her sister for the distress caused to them by individuals working for or on behalf of News of the World.

"The defendant accepts that such activity should never have taken place and that it had no right to intrude into the private lives of Ms Heather Mills or Fiona Mills in this way," he said.

The Mills sisters claimed that they experienced "strange activity with their telephones, journalists and photographers turning up in unexpected locations" and the publication of private information "without any apparent identifiable source", according to a statement read in court.

The repeated publication of such information "caused a lot of distrust and suspicion" that a friend or family member was "betraying them and selling stories to the press", the statement said.

The sisters' claims were settled on the basis that News Group Newspapers made no admission of liability in relation to their allegations of phone hacking at The Sun.