Former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating has accepted substantial phone-hacking damages from the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World and The Sun.
Keating, who now presents the breakfast show on Magic FM and BBC One’s The One Show, was suspicious about the origins of a large number of stories that appeared in both newspapers about his private life between 1996 and 2011.
During this period he used his voicemail extensively to exchange messages with family and friends.
Keating also alleged the newspapers had obtained his personal information by deception.
The Irish popstar said his suspicions about who the source of the information could be “generated distrust which impacted on his relationships and caused him considerable distress and upset”, according to a statement read at the High Court on Monday.
Keating accepted a settlement from News Group Newspapers, which includes substantial damages and his legal costs as well as a public apology in court. It also provided undertakings that it would not attempt to access Keating’s private information by unlawful means.
The publisher made no admission of liability in relation to The Sun.
Ben Silverstone, representing NGN, told the court: “The Defendant is here today, through me, to offer its sincere apologies to the Claimant for the distress caused to him by the invasion of his privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News of the World.
“The Defendant acknowledges that such activity should never have taken place, and that it had no right to intrude into the private life of the Claimant in this way.”
Keating said: “I am delighted NGN has now accepted responsibility for publishing countless articles about my and my family’s private life that should have remained private.
“For many years I was suspicious as to how my private information was being obtained and I am overjoyed that I can now put this episode behind me and move on.”
Keating’s lawyer, Ellen Gallagher of Hamlins LLP, said: “Ronan has had a long and successful career in the public eye, but this did not permit NGN to invade his privacy unlawfully and on a vast scale over a substantial period of time.”
Hamlins said it is still acting for a “large number” of individuals bringing phone-hacking cases against NGN, as well as Mirror Group Newspapers.
Press Gazette calculated this month that the hacking scandal has cost Murdoch’s NGN more than £1bn in the past ten years.
Picture: Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier