A former top-ranking police officer and the TV personality Katie Price have received public apologies from the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World as they settled their phone-hacking claims.
Stephen Chamberlain, the former assistant chief constable of South Yorkshire police from 2002 to 2006, and Price both accepted undisclosed damages from News Group Newspapers, the high court was told on Wednesday.
Hollyoaks actor and model Gemma Atkinson, and Lauren Pope, a DJ who has appeared on the reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex, also settled their claims after NGN accepted liability.
The four settlements are part of the second tranche of the long-running civil litigation relating to phone and computer hacking, with 26 claims still outstanding in addition to a further nine not yet served.
The court heard that between 2000 and 2011 Price was the subject of numerous articles in the News of the World, some of which contained private and confidential information.
An agreed statement read by solicitor Charlotte Ward said Price “had concerns about the security of her mobile phone and so changed her phone number several times. She also had her house swept for surveillance devices, although none was found.”
In 2011, she was contacted by the Metropolitan police, who told her they had evidence suggesting the defendant may have unlawfully obtained private and confidential information including “various emails, notes and call data”.
In November 2012 Price set out her details of claim, “including the fact that her voicemail messages and text messages had been targeted”.
Atkinson was also the subject of a number of articles in the News of the World, but had not become aware of the source of certain material until recently, the court heard.
She was “unsure whether someone close to her had been leaking information to the press” and this caused her “considerable distress”, said Ward. She was contacted by the Metropolitan police in 2012, who told her personal information pertaining to her had been found as part of Operation Weeting, set up to investigate phone-hacking allegations.
Pope was also unsure whether someone close to her had leaked information, said Ward.
Kirsten Sjovoll, solicitor for Chamberlain and his wife Helen, a police superintendent with Nottinghamshire police, said the couple had been targeted by the defendant from at least 2003, when they were both working for the South Yorkshire force.
Stories about their relationship appeared in the Sun, the News of the World and another newspaper, and as a result the couple “became concerned about the security of their private information and the security of their mobile telephones in particular,” said Sjovoll in a statement read aloud to the court.
In 2012 they were contacted by officers from Operation Weeting, who told them their private details had been found in the notebooks of a private investigator working for the defendant.
They were “extremely distressed to learn that they had been targeted in this way and that private details relating to medical information and their advisers had been obtained by the defendant,” said Sjovoll.
Private and confidential information had been used “by the defendant for numerous stories published in its newspaper from September 2003 onwards about the claimants and their relationships”.
Dinah Rose QC, for NGN, said it accepted liability and had agreed to pay damages and legal costs to Price, Atkinson, Pope and the Chamberlains. NGN offered its “sincere apologies” for the damage and distress caused to them.
Mr Justice Mann extended the deadline for alleged victims to join the managed action from 31 October to 15 December because of ongoing police investigations.