‘The Sun’ pays MP damages after accessing text messages

A Labour MP has accepted “very substantial” damages from The Sun after the tabloid admitted its staff accessed private information from her stolen mobile phone three years ago, London’s High Court heard yesterday.

Siobhain McDonagh later said she was paid £50,000 (€58,230) damages by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp following revelations Sun reporters had been accessing text messages on her mobile phone which was taken from her car in London in Oct 2010.

“I’m not terribly high profile, I love doing my constituency stuff, but I would never have thought that my phone was of interest to a national daily newspaper,” the Southwest London MP told BBC radio.

Phone-hacking at Murdoch’s now defunct News of the World first came to light in 2005, with the paper’s royal correspondent jailed in 2007. News International, Murdoch’s British newspaper business, said for years that the scandal was limited to a rogue reporter, but subsequently admitted it was far more widespread.

Dozens of staff from both the News of the World and The Sun have now been arrested in connection with the phone-hacking scandal, while allegations have since spread to the Mirror with four current or former editors arrested last week.

Hugh Tomlinson, who is representing phone-hacking victims, yesterday told the High Court there had been “substantial developments”, referring to the arrest last month of six people as part of a second suspected phone-hacking conspiracy at the News of the World.

This could involve “potentially hundreds of victims”, he said.

Dinah Rose, lawyer for News International, offered an unreserved apology to Ms McDonagh and said it accepted that there had been “a serious misuse of her private information”.

Another victim, former boxer Chris Eubank, told the court that News International had destroyed his life and his marriage, and accused the company of making a “mockery of the judicial system”. He said he was looking forward to a “gargantuan battle” in the phone-hacking litigation.

Representing himself, he said he had been offered and rejected a payoff of £21,000 for hacking of his phone.

Reuters

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