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Updated: Charlotte Church agrees £600,000 hacking settlement

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Charlotte Church

© PA Images

Charlotte Church and her parents have agreed damages and costs amounting to £600,000 with Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers over the hacking of their phones by the now defunct News of the World.

The High Court heard today that the singer's phone was first hacked in 2002 when she was just 16 and that 33 articles about the family have been published in the paper as a result of voicemail interception.

The settlement, first confirmed last week, is said to include £300,000 in legal costs and a public apology from News Group Newspapers, publisher of the News of the World.

In court today, it was detailed how journalists had placed Church under almost constant surveillance after she sprung to fame as the 'voice of an angel'. They were also said to have gained access to her medical records.

Church has said that the phone hacking, conducted by private detective Glenn Mulcaire on behalf of the News of the World, led to the publication of stories that caused immense harm and distress to her family and personal life.

Speaking at the Leveson inquiry into press ethics last year, she claimed that her mother Maria attempted suicide after finding out that the News of the World had run a story about her then husband's affair.

Today, the court heard how Maria was also "coerced" into an interview with News of the World journalists about how she had self-harmed, after journalists had gained the information from hacking voicemails about her medical history.

Giving a statement to reporters after the hearing, Church said: "Today is an important day for me and my family. I brought this legal claim with my parents, as many others have done, because we wanted to find out the truth about what this newspaper group has done in the pursuit of stories about our family.

"What I have discovered as the litigation has gone on has sickened and disgusted me. Nothing was deemed off-limits by those who pursued me and my family, just to make money for a multinational news corporation.

"Of course, I was a teenager at the time and my parents were not in the public eye, they just happened to have a well-known daughter. Whatever I have had to go through, they have suffered as well. They have been harassed, put under surveillance, and my mother was bullied into revealing her own private medical condition for no other reason than they were my parents.

"Someone in a newspaper thought that was OK. How can that be, in any right-thinking society?"

The settlement, which prevented the commencement of a high-profile trial in London, comes just a day after Murdoch's News International publisher returned to the UK Sunday tabloid market with a seventh-day edition of The Sun.

Watch Charlotte Church make her statement outside the court below:

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