UK

Phone-hacking: Sir Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley settle claims

Sir Elton John Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish were among those to reach settlements with NGN

Sir Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley and Heather Mills have settled phone-hacking claims against News Group Newspapers, their lawyers have said.

The case involving NGN, publisher of the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, was due to go to trial next week at the High Court in London.

But, on Friday, the trio's solicitors said they had agreed terms with NGN.

NGN said "sincere apologies" had been offered "for the distress caused by the invasion of privacy".

"News Group Newspapers has settled cases relating to voicemail interception at the News of the World which closed in 2011," a company spokesman said.

They added, however, that NGN made "no admission of liability" with regards to "any allegations of illegal information gathering at the Sun newspaper".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elizabeth Hurley and Heather Mills also settled claims

Hamlins, the law firm for the claimants - who also included Sir Elton's husband, David Furnish, and Ms Mills' sister, Fiona - said the claims were "the fourth trial in the last 18 months which has settled very close to the start of the trial date".

Callum Galbraith, a partner at the firm, said: "Notwithstanding the settlements and the growing body of evidence, News Group Newspapers Limited continue to refuse to acknowledge that any phone hacking took place at the Sun."

The hacking revelations led to the closure of the News of the World in 2011 after it emerged that journalists intercepted the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Since then, celebrities including David Tennant, Hugh Grant and Charlotte Church have settled claims against the News of the World over phone-hacking.

The News of the World hacking scandal

Image copyright Getty Images

The News of the World closed in July 2011 amid damaging allegations of phone-hacking at the paper, revealed by the Guardian.

Journalists hacked into voicemail messages of celebrities by using a default factory-set PIN number.

At its time of its closure the Sunday tabloid sold about 2.8 million copies a week, and was famed for its celebrity scoops and sex scandals, earning it the nickname the News of the Screws.

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