A number of celebrities and high-profile figures have settled phone hacking claims against the publisher of the News Of The World, the High Court has heard.
Statements were read before Mr Justice Fancourt on behalf of 15 celebrities and other figures, including actor Sean Bean, Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri and ex-cricketer and commentator Shane Warne.
News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of the now-defunct newspaper, has agreed to pay 'substantial damages' to each of the claimants and also pay their legal costs.
The publisher, through its legal team, made public apologies to each of the claimants for the actions of the News Of The World, but did not admit any liability in relation to allegations of phone hacking at one of its other newspapers, The Sun.
The group who have settled cases also includes actresses Julia and Nadia Sawalha and Michelle Collins, ex-television presenter Dani Behr, singer Dane Bowers, and former Coronation Street actors Richard Fleeshman and Quintin Lawson - also known as Charlie Lawson - who played Jim McDonald in the popular soap opera.
The court also heard statements on behalf of agent Jane Epstein, Anne Diamond's husband Michael Hollingsworth, former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, former journalist Louise Port and Natalie Cecil, the ex-wife of racehorse trainer Henry Cecil.
In a statement read on behalf of Ms Spiteri, her solicitor Callum Galbraith told the court she was an 'obvious person for the press to target', both as a result of her success with Texas and her friendship with a number of people in the public eye, including members of Paul McCartney's family.
Sharleen Spiteri's solicitor Callum Galbraith told London's High Court she was an 'obvious person for the press to target', both as a result of her success with Texas and her friendship with a number of people in the public eye, including members of Paul McCartney's family
Actor Sean Bean (left) and ex-cricketer and commentator Shane Warne are among the 15 celebrities who settled phone hacking claims against the publisher of the News Of The World
Mr Galbraith said the singer had identified a number of articles published between 1998 and 2009 which she claimed contained her private information.
He said: 'Articles published reported on matters relating to, for example, Ms Spiteri's separation from her then long-term partner (a private matter which she claimed was not then known to her close family), her home, her whereabouts and the birth of her daughter.
'Ms Spiteri believes that the publication of the articles had a harmful effect on her private and family life and is appalled she will never regain control of her private information.'
Mr Galbraith said she 'became suspicious' as to who was providing the confidential information, adding: 'Ms Spiteri believes that the publication of the articles generated distrust which impacted on her relationships and this has caused her considerable distress, upset and anger.'
On behalf of NGN, Ben Silverstone said: 'The defendant is here today, through me, to offer its sincere apologies to Ms Spiteri for the distress caused to her by the invasion of her privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News Of The World.
'The defendant acknowledges that such activity should never have taken place, and that it had no right to intrude into the private life of Ms Spiteri.
Similar statements were read on behalf of each of the claimants, and apologies to each of them on behalf of NGN then followed.
Since the phone-hacking scandal led to the closure of the News Of The World in 2011, NGN has settled a number of damages claims concerning unlawful information-gathering - but the publisher has never admitted liability in relation to alleged phone hacking at The Sun.
A hearing relating to further claims which have not yet been resolved will be held later on Wednesday.
In a statement read on behalf of actor Richard Fleeshman, it was claimed that from about 2006, when he was aged 16, he experienced 'strange activity' with his phones and information about his private life appearing in NGN publications 'without any apparent explanation'.
His lawyer David Sherborne told the court that 'he would become confused when he would go somewhere, either on his own or with close friends and family, only to find a photographer waiting there to take photographs'.
Mr Fleeshman, who appeared in Coronation Street, sent NGN a letter of claim in September 2019 'alleging the interception of his voicemail messages', the court heard.
Mr Sherborne said the actor alleged News of the World publications about his 'private information' caused him to become 'distrustful and suspicious of his family'.
He claimed his career was 'seriously impacted' and 'he reluctantly decided to leave Coronation Street in July 2006 due to intrusion into his private life'.
'The claimant further alleged that he turned down a number of other roles as he could not face the intrusion,' Mr Sherborne said.
David Sherborne, representing Shane Warne, said the Australian former cricketer brought proceedings in May 2020 after the Metropolitan Police informed him details including his date of birth and mobile phone number had appeared in the notes of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
The barrister told the court: 'The claimant identified a number of articles he claimed contained his private and confidential information which were published by the defendant's newspapers between 1999 and 2011.
'During this time the claimant used his voicemail extensively - particularly whilst playing cricket - and he would regularly receive and leave voicemail messages.'
Mr Sherborne said NGN had agreed to pay Mr Warne substantial damages and his legal costs in relation to the 'invasion of his privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News Of The World', but makes no admission of liability in relation to The Sun.
Ben Hamer, representing former EastEnders actress Michelle Collins, said she issued proceedings against NGN in September 2019 and had relied on 47 articles published between 1996 and 2010 which she claimed 'contained intrusive and personal information about her private life and relationships'.
He said she alleged the obtaining of her private information was 'consistent with the interception of her voicemail messages'.
Mr Hamer said Ms Collins alleged that the publication of the articles 'had a damaging effect on her career and her private life, and that it caused lasting damage to her relationships with family and friends, some of which she believes can never be repaired'.
Mr Hamer told the court that NGN had agreed to pay Ms Collins 'substantial damages' and her legal costs and apologised for 'the distress caused to her by the invasion of her privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News Of The World'.
NGN makes no admission of liability in relation to The Sun newspaper, Mr Hamer said.
Dane Bowers, who was in boy band Another Level from the late 1990s until 2000, was 'shocked' after seeing disclosure documents which included an invoice referring to a search for his son's birth certificate, the court heard.
The singer, who collaborated with Victoria Beckham and was once in a relationship with Katie Price, issued proceedings against NGN in May last year alleging he had experienced 'suspicious activity' with his phones.
Emily Jenkins, his solicitor, told the High Court that, as part of the disclosure process, Mr Bowers saw the invoice and was also shown a number of invoices from alleged private investigators which he believed indicated they were targeting him.
She said Mr Bowers alleged that 32 articles contained information about his private and family life which he said affected his relationships.
Ms Jenkins added: 'Having seen the defendant's standard disclosure... the claimant also believed that his associates were targeted and this caused untold suspicion and lasting damage to relationships, some of which he believes are irreparable.'
She said he was 'particularly shocked' to see invoices relating to an alleged company who are claimed in this litigation - one of which was addressed to a journalist at the News Of The World and another addressed to a journalist at The Sun.
However, Ms Jenkins said Mr Bowers agreed and noted that NGN made no liability in relation to The Sun when settling his claim for 'substantial damages'.
Barrister David Sherborne, representing model Imogen Thomas, said she issued proceedings against NGN in September 2019 claiming it had 'obtained her private information by unlawful means'.
He said the former Miss Wales, who appeared in court, was 'a person of interest to the press' who alleged NGN journalists 'would have been privy to private and confidential voicemail messages'.
Mr Sherborne said that following a July 2020 disclosure exchange with NGN she was 'shocked to discover what she believed to be suspicious call data and invoices relating to both her and her associates.
He said she was also 'horrified to see her name appear in a News Of The World internal email with reference to an alleged private investigator company'.
Ms Thomas was 'profoundly upset to discover' what she believed to be 'invasions of privacy' by individuals working for or on behalf of NGN, Mr Sherborne added.
He said she believed the publication of NGN newspaper articles left some of her personal relationships 'irreversibly damaged'.
Mr Sherborne said NGN had agreed to pay Ms Thomas 'substantial damages' as well as legal costs, with it making no admission of liability in relation to the Sun newspaper.