, LONDON, Feb 27 – British singer Charlotte Church and her parents received £600,000 in phone-hacking damages from Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper group under a settlement unveiled at the High Court in London on Monday.
Lawyers for the 25-year-old and her parents, James and Maria, confirmed last week that terms had been agreed with News Group Newspapers (NGN), publishers of the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.
Charlotte Church, who rose to fame as a child, was in court to hear the reading of a statement resolving her claim that 33 articles in the News of the World had resulted from her family’s voicemails being hacked.
The settlement, worth $952,000 or 710,000 euros, of which half is for legal costs, is one of the biggest made to the dozens of celebrities and public figures who have taken legal action against the News of the World’s owners.
Speaking outside court after the hearing, Church said she had been “sickened and disgusted” at the extent of the hacking.
“Nothing was deemed off-limits by those who pursued me and my family just to make money for a multi-national news corporation,” she said.
“My parents were not in the public eye, they just happened to have a well-known daughter.
“They have been harassed and put under surveillance and my mother was bullied into revealing her own private medical condition for no other reason than that they were my parents.
“Someone in a newspaper thought that was OK. How can that be, in any right-thinking society?”
Church, the ex-wife of Welsh rugby international Gavin Henson, said she had wanted to bring those responsible to court to explain their actions, but she feared she would have “learned nothing” from a trial.
The newspaper group had been prepared to go “to any lengths” to cover up “the industrial scale of their illegal activity”, she said, adding: “In my opinion, they are not truly sorry, only sorry they got caught.”
The biggest settlement made so far is the £3 million, including £1 million for charity, paid to the parents of murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, whose voicemail was hacked.
This weekend, Murdoch oversaw the publication of the first edition of the Sun on Sunday, turning The Sun tabloid into a seven-day-a-week operation in a bid to fill the gap left in the market by the News of the World’s closure.