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Phone Hacking: Duchess Among Latest To Settle

The Duchess of York is the latest victim of phone hacking to have reached a settlement with News Group Newspapers.

Lawyers for Sarah Ferguson, whose voicemail messages were intercepted by journalists at the News of the World, said she he had received a "comprehensive and categoric apology" from the publishers of the now defunct newspaper.

The High Court was read statements on behalf of 17 of the 144 victims who have now reached settlements with the company.

They include the actor Hugh Grant, a prominent member of Hacked Off, which is campaigning for the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry into press practices to be implemented in full.

His solicitor, Mark Thomson, said: "The claimant was particularly distressed to learn that he had wrongly mistrusted and avoided certain friends and acquaintances in the past."

Other victims include the actor Christopher Ecclestone, singers James Blunt and Kerry Katona and self-proclaimed mystifier Uri Geller.

The court heard that Mr Blunt was "shocked and concerned" that he had been targeted by the News of the World, particularly at a time when he was in contact with serving members of the armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

David Sherborne, representing Mr Ecclestone, added: "The claimant was deeply angry and upset to discover that, owing to the deliberate destruction of documents by the News of the World, he will never find out the true extent to which his privacy, and that of those close to him, was invaded."

Meanwhile, Colin Stagg, who was wrongly accused of murdering Rachel Nickell in 1992, will receive £15,500 from News Group Newspapers.

The value of his settlement was the only one made public at the High Court.