LONDON – Charlotte Church and her parents have received £600,000 ($950,000) in damages and costs from News Group Newspapers (NGN), publishers of the now-defunct News of the World tabloid whose reporters hacked into the family’s voicemails.
The settlement includes £300,000 in legal costs and a public apology. Church, 26, was at the High Court in London on Monday as a statement was read out revealing that 33 articles published in the News of the World were the product of phone-hacking, Sky News reported.
Lawyers acting for Church and her parents finalized a deal with NGN last week, days before they were due to go to trial. Church had remained the only public figure not to have reached a settlement out of an initial group of around 60 people who sued the publisher for breach of privacy.
The size of the damages payout reportedly reflects the fact that Church was still a teenage when the News of the World began to target her in 2002, as well as the prolonged nature of the hacking and surveillance by the paper, which continued until 2006, according to The Guardian.
Journalists also gained access to Church’s medical records, and coerced her mother, Maria, into giving an interview about how she had self-harmed and attempted to commit suicide.
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Speaking outside the High Court, Church said she was “sickened and disgusted” by what the News of the World had done to source stories about her, adding that despite its publisher’s apology in court, she did not believe it was sorry, merely “sorry it had been caught,” the BBC reported.
“Money could never mend the damage that was done,” she said, outlining her intentions to use her share of the settlement to protect her two children from further invasions of their privacy.
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