Actress Elizabeth Hurley is the latest celebrity to receive damages and an apology from the Mirror Group over phone hacking.
The High Court’s decision on Wednesday relates to 58 separate articles, dating as far as 1998, published by three of Mirror Groups Newspapers (MGN).
The 51-year-old actress accepted an undisclosed but ‘substantial’ sum from the media group for intruding upon her private affairs.
It was MGN’s relentless, voyeuristic interest in her pregnancy between 2001 and 2002 that she still recalled with particular anger and horror so many years later, her solicitor Anjlee Saigol said.
It is understood that some of the settlements exceeded the £260,250 record damages awarded to actress and businesswoman Sadie Frost following a trial in 2015.
Last month, 44 similar cases against MGN were resolved, including the likes of Lord Jeffrey Archer, footballer Kevin Keegan, former home secretary Charles Clarke, the ex-wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Around 50 claims are still in the pipeline.
The articles in question regarding Hurley were related to her pregnancy, and detailed clearly sensitive circumstances.
Whilst it is not admitted by MGN that this was the product of unlawful activity, through the pages of MGN’s national newspapers, Ms Hurley’s private matters were unravelled, including details of the ensuing paternity dispute, the fact of a series of crisis talks with her former partner, the involvement of lawyers, emotional responses and reactions; and disputes over her son, all presented and treated by MGN as if this painful time in Ms Hurley’s life was a drama to be enjoyed and consumed, Ms Saigol said.
This was without any care or thought for the very real impact these activities and articles would be having on Ms Hurley and her pregnancy, she added.
Ms Hurley felt she was hounded by MGN’s journalists, and that these were private matters that were not in the public interest. She would never have chosen to disclose these matters to her son, knowing the hurt they would and have in fact caused him.
Ms Saigol said that in February 2016, MGN admitted its journalists illegally targeted Ms Hurley by hacking into her voicemails, as well as the voicemails of those close to her, and by hiring private investigators to find out information about her.
The actress has said she will donate the whole sum to victims of the press.
(c) Sky News 2017: Elizabeth Hurley paid damages by Mirror Group over phone hacking