LONDON (AP) — Charlotte Church, who testified before a media inquiry of being hounded by Rupert Murdoch’s journalists when she was a teen singing sensation, received 600,000 pounds ($951,000) Monday in a phone hacking settlement from News International.
The 26-year-old Welsh singer was present at London’s High Court for the reading of a statement resolving her claim that 33 articles in the now defunct News of the World tabloid were the product of journalists illegally hacking into her family’s voice mails.
Lawyers for Church and her parents, James and Maria, confirmed that terms had been agreed with News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers.
News International, a division of Murdoch’s News Corp., has tried hard to keep phone hacking cases from going to trial. It has launched its own compensation program, overseen by a respected former judge, and has paid out millions in out-of-court settlements for about 60 cases including one brought by actor Jude Law, comedian Steve Coogan, former soccer star Paul Gascoigne and actress Sienna Miller.
Judge Geoffrey Vos has said News International had made “superhuman efforts to settle every case.”
The lawsuits stem from revelations of phone-hacking and other illegal tactics at the News of the World, where journalists routinely intercepted voicemails of those in the public eye in a relentless search for scoops.
Murdoch closed the 168-year-old tabloid in July amid a wave of public revulsion over its 2002 interception of voicemails belonging to a missing 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered. Murdoch and his company paid millions to the Dowler family.
The scandal has spawned three parallel police investigations and a U.K. judge-led inquiry into media ethics, where Church spoke of the intense, often overwhelming, media intrusion into her family’s private life.
The settlement to Church includes 300,000 pounds ($476,000) in legal costs and a public apology.