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Biggest in UK History: Murdoch's News Group Pays Out Media Libel Settlement to Phone Hacking Victims

© AP Photo / Kirsty WigglesworthA protester wearing a Rupert Murdoch mask is photographed by media outside parliament in London, Tuesday, July 19, 2011.
A protester wearing a Rupert Murdoch mask is photographed by media outside parliament in London, Tuesday, July 19, 2011.  - Sputnik International
In 2011 UK paper News of the World apologised for hacking into the voicemails of celebrities, royals, murder victims and other figures. Its parent company, News Corp, later shut down the tabloid amid official investigations into the wider scandal. Most cases involved the tabloid but almost every other mainstream UK newspaper has also settled cases.

Heather Mills, ex-wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, and 90 others have won an apology and settlement from Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers after a virtually decade-long battle over claims of phone hacking.

Mills said the settlement stemmed from activity carried out 1999 - 2010. The amount claimants will receive hasn’t been publicly disclosed, although there are suggestions it could be historic. Ben Silverstone, representing News Group, said the company offered its “sincere apologies” to Mills and her sister for the distress caused to them by individuals working for or on behalf of News of the World - although the claims were settled on the basis News Group made no admission of liability in relation to their allegations of phone hacking at The Sun, the News Of The World’s sister paper.

​“The defendant accepts such activity should never have taken place and it had no right to intrude into the private lives of Heather Mills or Fiona Mills in this way,” he said.

The Mills sisters claimed in a statement they experienced “strange activity with their telephones, journalists and photographers turning up in unexpected locations” and the publication of private information “without any apparent identifiable source”, according to a statement read in court.

​The repeated publication of such information “caused a lot of distrust and suspicion” that a friend or family member was “betraying them and selling stories to the press”.

"My motivation to win this decade long fight stems from a desire to obtain justice. Not only for my family, my charities and myself, but for the thousands of innocent members of the public, who — like me — have suffered similar, ignominious, criminal treatment at the hands of one of the world's most powerful media groups," Mills said.

Hacked Off, a group which represents victims of the phone hacking scandal, said in May the total bill for newspaper publishers could reach £1 billion.

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