Writer, actor and comedian Steve Coogan has won a substantial payout from Mirror Group Newspapers after his phone was repeatedly hacked by journalists, according to the Press Gazette website.
Mirror Group’s owner, Trinity Mirror, agreed to settle today (Tuesday 3 October) with Coogan, 51, whose seven-bedroom home in Ovingdean is up for sale for £3.25 million.
Press Gazette said: “Steve Coogan has said he believes phone hacking took place for ‘up to 15 years’ at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People newspapers.
“Coogan made the claim in a statement outside court today after Trinity Mirror agreed to pay him a six-figure sum for damages over 62 news stories the actor claimed had been obtained through unlawful means – including hacking his voicemails.
“The Alan Partridge star also said editors and executives at Trinity Mirror, including former chief executive Sly Bailey and ex-Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, had ‘not yet been subject to proper scrutiny’.
“Morgan, now co-presenter of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, was editor of the newspaper from 1995 to 2004.”
Press Gazette quoted Mr Coogan outside court, saying: “It is my belief that hacking at the Mirror’s papers took place for up to 15 years.
“Journalists at all three papers – the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People – and successive editors hacked the phones of thousands of people, not just celebrities and public figures, but their families and people who just happened to be in the news.
“The way they have behaved is a disgrace to the record of what was a fine newspaper publisher and an insult to the memory of (renowned ex-Daily Mirror editorial director) Hugh Cudlipp.
“Covering up the wrongdoing to stop the truth coming out was even worse.
“Their failure to act on warnings and reports of illegality from at least 2002 onwards has led to the criminal intrusion into the lives of thousands of people and – due to the costs of paying lawyers and damages – the jobs of scores of journalists.
“It’s my view that editors and executives such as Sly Bailey, Piers Morgan, (ex-legal director) Paul Vickers, (ex-Sunday People editor) Tina Weaver and (ex-Daily Mirror editor) Richard Wallace have not yet been subject to proper scrutiny taking into account what has emerged since the first half of the (Leveson) inquiry.
“The second part of the Leveson inquiry must find out who hacked, who knew about it, who covered it up or turned a blind eye. The Leveson inquiry must be completed now as the government has promised.”
To read the Press Gazette report, click here.
Hacked Off joint executive director Evan Harris said: “We know that hacking at Mirror newspapers took place on an industrial scale as a matter of course for any individual – including countless non-celebrities – who was in the news throughout the noughties, and yet, no Mirror editor has ever faced sanction for the illegality committed under their leadership.
“It is essential that the second half of the Leveson inquiry proceeds immediately to discover how far up knowledge of hacking and the cover up went at Mirror Group Newspapers.”
Dr Harris added: “Piers Morgan was either incompetent and ignorant as to the illegality behind hundreds of paper’s stories or he was involved in it – or both. The public should be told which it is.”