63rd person sues in UK hacking scandal
A BRITISH man whose wife and child were killed in a hammer attack in 1996 is to sue News International over claims his phone was hacked, the 63rd person to take action in the scandal that has rocked Britain.
Shaun Russell is one of a raft of new complainants taking the Rupert Murdoch-owned publisher to court over fears that its now-closed News of the World newspaper intercepted his voicemail messages, media lawyer Mark Stephens said.
Russell’s wife Lin and six-year-old daughter Megan were killed by hammer-wielding Michael Stone in Kent, but his eldest daughter, Josie, who was aged nine at the time, survived the ordeal.
Another 12 alleged hacking victims filed papers on Monday as judge Geoffrey Vos set a deadline for claims to be considered before a test case in January.
Other fresh claimants include Sara Payne, the mother of murder victim Sarah Payne, singer Charlotte Church and London 7/7 bomb hero Paul Dadge.
A spokesman for News International said: “News International is committed to reaching fair and where possible swift settlements with victims of illegal voicemail interception and has unreservedly apologised to those affected.”
News International announced last month it was to pay £2 million ($A3.22 million) to the family of Milly Dowler, a murdered girl at the centre of the affair.
The scandal emerged in 2007 when private detective Glenn Mulcaire was jailed along with the tabloid’s royal editor Clive Goodman.
Police closed the inquiry and the evidence from Mulcaire’s files lay untouched for several years, until they finally revived the probe in January amid mounting evidence that phone hacking was more widespread at the paper.
Several former journalists from the News of the World tabloid and News International have since been arrested over alleged hacking or police bribery.
News International is owned by News Corp, which also owns News Limited, the publisher of news.com.au.