Actress Sienna Miller has claimed that The Sun newspaper tried to “profit from its misery” when it formally settled a phone hacking claim against its publisher.
In a statement read on her behalf in Superior Court, the 39-year-old described how she felt the newspaper “brutally took away her choice” by allegedly “leaking” that she was pregnant.
Ms. Miller has filed legal action against News Group Newspapers (NGN), which denies that information was illegally collected at The Sun and has agreed to settle her case for “substantial damages” without any admission of liability.
His attorney, David Sherborne, said at Thursday’s hearing that he initiated legal action for alleged interception of voice messages and misuse of private information in September 2019.
“Ms. Miller was the subject of intense media scrutiny and a serious intrusion into her private life from around 2003, which impacted not only her but most of her friends and family,” he said.
“In particular, The Sun published numerous intrusive stories about her that contained intimate and private details about her relationships and feelings and even her confidential medical information.”
Mr. Sherborne said he claimed to have been “a victim of the illegal collection of information by various journalists and executives of The Sun” and she “also alleged that this had been concealed by senior executives, including the deliberate destruction of incriminating evidence” .
She said the disclosed material left Ms Miller “appalled” as she believed it showed the expenses were claimed by a senior Sun reporter “and that she had met with a ‘medical records tracker’ in July and August. 2005 to discuss Ms. Miller’s pregnancy. “
She added that the disclosure in January 2020 “comprised records of phone calls made by News Group journalists to mobile phones in relation to her and four of her friends and family members, as well as private investigator bills to The Sun and records of taxpayer payments “. by The Sun to alleged private investigators “.
Sherborne said Ms Miller found it “painful” to prepare a witness statement for her claim, as she “had to relive what the News Group had done to her over several years, including times when she was extremely vulnerable.” .
She added that she “believes it was Rebekah Brooks, then editor of The Sun, who first called the plaintiff’s representative to tell him that she knew the plaintiff was pregnant.”
Sherborne said Ms Miller alleged that Ms Brooks, who has denied her involvement in illegal activity, and others were “responsible for leaking the pregnancy and that their actions, including the call, had led to her being unable to trust those closest to her when she really needed them ”.
Sherborne added: “It was already an incredibly stressful and difficult time in her life, but the fact that The Sun attacked her made it traumatic.
“She felt at the time, and still does, that The Sun brutally took away her choice on the matter.
“Ms. Miller felt constantly harassed so that she couldn’t even visit a doctor’s clinic without being followed.”
He said Ms Miller “remains distraught over the fact that she may never know the exact scope of News Group’s activities” and had wanted to take her claim to trial but was unable to due to the costs as she faced ” a possible bill of millions of pounds ”.
Sherborne said Miller believes he was “a target in pursuit of The Sun’s goal of profiting from their misery” and that “he will never be able to forgive what they did to him, but at least he hopes to hold them accountable.”
She said that since NGN had agreed to pay damages and “notwithstanding” that the settlement was agreed on a non-admission of liability basis, Ms. Miller believes “this amounts to an admission of liability by The Sun and, therefore, he feels fully vindicated for having presented this claim ”.
Miller’s statement comes after some 15 celebrities and high-profile figures also settled claims against NGN, editor of News Of The World, for phone hacking in the now-defunct newspaper.
On Wednesday, the court heard statements read on his behalf, including those of actor Sean Bean, Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri and former cricketer and commentator Shane Warne.
Later Thursday, the court is due to hear statements on behalf of former soccer player Paul Gascoigne and former Liberal Democrat MP and activist Evan Harris, but the NGN also questions the wording of their statements.