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Soap star Antony Cotton among trio to settle phone hacking claims

Antony Cotton (PA/Ian West)
Antony Cotton (PA/Ian West)

A Coronation Street star, an actor and a TV producer have settled damages actions over phone hacking, the High Court has heard.

Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully in the long-running ITV soap and appeared in the drama Queer As Folk, received “substantial damages” from News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of the now-defunct News of the World and The Sun.

His lawyers told a judge in London on Thursday that Mr Cotton, who was referred to by his real name Antony Dunn, had settled his claim against NGN for an undisclosed sum.

Actor Mark Womack, who is married to actress Samantha Womack, and producer Natalka Znak, who worked on a number of ITV reality shows including I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! have also accepted substantial damages from NGN.

All three claimed they were targeted by NGN staff, had their voicemails hacked and their private information obtained “by deception”.

NGN accepted their privacy had been invaded by News of the World staff, but made no admission of liability in relation to allegations against The Sun.

Ben Silverstone, representing NGN, told Mr Justice Mann that the publisher accepted such activities “should never have taken place” and offered a public apology to all three claimants for the “distress caused” to them.

The News of World folded in 2011 after details emerged of extensive phone hacking at the newspaper.

A number of high-profile celebrities, including Heather Mills, David Tennant and Vic Reeves have previously settled claims against the publisher.

David Sherborne QC, representing claimants in the latest round of the legal action, told the court there are 49 active claims against NGN and 52 further potential claims.

It was revealed earlier this month that the Duke of Sussex is suing NGN over phone hacking allegations, and is also bringing legal action against Mirror Group Newspapers.

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