Gascoigne awarded £68,000 for hacking ‘distress’

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Steve Coogan and Paul Gascoigne headed a list of phone-hacking damages claims which settled out of court just as they were about to reach trial.

Gascoigne’s settlement of £68,000 and Coogan’s of £40,000 were revealed as 10 agreed statements were read out to a packed courtroom yesterday.

The former England soccer star, who was not in court, had suffered “mental harm and distress” and fallen out with friends and family because he feared information was being given to journalists, said his lawyers.

Coogan, who was present, said later that it had been a “very stressful and time-consuming” experience for him and those close to him.

“This has never been about money,” the comedian said. “Like other people who have sued, I was determined to do my part to show the depths to which the Press can sink in pursuit of private information.”

The actor and footballer are among the 54 now resolved cases out of 60 that were launched against News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers before October last year.

Five of the remainder cannot be heard yet for technical reasons – Elle Macpherson’s former adviser, Mary Ellen Field, footballer Ryan Giggs, former royal butler Paul Burrell, police officer and Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames and her husband David Cook and public relations consultant Nicola Phillips. But the sixth – that of singer Charlotte Church, with her parents, James and Maria – will begin on February 27.

The two-week trial before Mr Justice Vos will not just consider Church’s claim that 33 articles in the now-defunct News of the World were the product of hacking, but also set out a compensation framework for future cases.

The judge was told that 56 new claims were in the pipeline – including those of singer James Blunt, soccer star Peter Crouch and his wife Abigail Clancy, politician Nigel Farage, footballer Kieron Dyer and Eimear Cook – ex-wife of golfer Colin Montgomerie.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes, who accepted £45,000, was in court and said later that the practice of hacking was “criminal behaviour on an industrial scale”.

Other awards were £25,000 to politician George Galloway, substantial undisclosed damages to former Labour communications director Alastair Campbell, £75,000 to sports agent Sky Andrew and another substantial award to Phil Hughes, who was an agent for late footballer George Best.