Charlotte Church settles over phone hacking

Charlotte Church at the Leveson Inquiry: November 2011

Singer Charlotte Church has settled her damages claim against News Group Newspapers over the hacking of her phone, London's High Court has heard.

A trial had been due to consider claims that 33 articles in the now defunct News of the World (NoW) were the product of hacking into voicemails.

Ms Church, 26, recently spoke of press intrusion into her private life at the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics.

At least 50 claims against the NoW have now been settled.

The singer told the inquiry led by Lord Justice Leveson that her mother attempted suicide after finding out the NoW was about to run a story about her husband's affair.

The mother-of-two also spoke of her distress after the Sun revealed her first pregnancy before she had told her family.

Press regulation

Comedian Steve Coogan and former England footballer Paul Gascoigne are among the most recent public figures to settle claims for damages over hacking.

Actress Sienna Miller also settled for £100,000 damages and costs while former footballer Andy Gray accepted £20,000 in damages after his phone was hacked.

Andy Coulson Andy Coulson quit as David Cameron's communications director last January

On Wednesday, Cherie Blair started legal proceedings over phone hacking "in relation to the unlawful interception of her voicemails".

The wife of former prime minister Tony Blair is also thought to be suing News Group, but a News International spokeswoman declined to comment.

Meanwhile, former NoW editor Andy Coulson appears to have lost his battle to get News Group to cover any legal fees he faces over phone-hacking.

Mr Coulson had challenged a High Court decision in December that News Group did not have to pay his legal costs, but he has now been denied permission to appeal.

His lawyers had argued a clause in his severance deal meant any costs incurred defending allegations of criminal conduct during his editorship should be paid.

Mr Coulson has been arrested and bailed by police investigating phone-hacking at the NoW. He has always denied any wrongdoing,

He resigned as David Cameron's communications director last January.

The long-running row over phone hacking by journalists led to the closure of the NoW in July.

It also raised questions about press regulation, media ownership, the police, and relationships between politicians and journalists, which are being discussed at the ongoing Leveson Inquiry.

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