Heather Mills gets UK phone hacking apology, payout

LONDON — Heather Mills, the former wife of Paul McCartney, and her sister have received an apology and a settlement from Britain's defunct News of the World tabloid over the hacking of their phones.

Heather Mills and her sister Fiona Mills both received a formal apology in Britain's High Court on Monday. In a statement read outside the court, she said she felt "joy and vindication" at the settlement.

"My motivation to win this decade-long fight stemmed from a desire to obtain justice, not only for my family, my charities and myself, but for the thousands of innocent members of the public who, like me, have suffered similar ignominious, criminal treatment at the hands of one of the world's most powerful media groups," she said.

Mills is one of a number of celebrities who have received settlements in the prolonged phone hacking scandal, which closed the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World in 2011. The paper was found to have hacked into the voicemail of many prominent Britons in a gross violation of privacy.

A representative of the tabloid said it apologized to the Mills sisters for "the distress caused to them by the invasion of their privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News of the World."

The size of what was called a "substantial settlement" hasn't been revealed.

The Mills' lawyer, David Sherborne, said the sisters had been subjected to "sustained and repeated invasions of privacy" by people working for the newspaper.

"The claimants believe that the publication of articles in the defendant's newspapers had a seriously corrosive effect on (their) relationships with their friends and family, some of which can never be repaired," he said.

Mills and McCartney divorced in 2008 after a prolonged court clash over the size of the settlement she would receive.

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