News of the World hacked 7,000 people, says lawyer

British tabloid News of the World hacked into 7,000 people’s phones in a search for news.

Over the weekend, News International made a public apology for “voicemail interception” in 2004-2006, however it now finds itself swamped by further complaints and lawsuits.

Rod Dadak, who is representing litigants, said that it looks like the law suits would end up costing about £40 million.

Charlotte Harris, from Mishcon de Reya, has claimed to the Independent that 7,000 people would have been hacked.

She made her claim hours after the News of the World said “sorry!” for listening in on messages of public figures.

But the feeling is that News International’s new approach is damage limitation for the expected fallout as the cases get to court.

Harris managed to get Max Clifford a million from the News of the Screws after he was hacked. She said that what the world was seeing was an apology and an admission. However so far no one has got quite near the truth yet.

Harris said that if the journos hacked one person’s phone, they would have had access to everyone who has left a message for them. If you go into that person’s phone you get all their messages.

To put a figure on it, it is certainly, 4,000, 6,000, 7,000, she said.

The Met police has 45 detectives carrying out a new investigation into the hacking.

Lawyers are expecting more people to join the 24 who have already begun civil proceedings for breaches of privacy.

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has denied any knowledge of hacking. He later was in charge of overseeing communications for then Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron.

Scottish ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown was worried that his own phone messages had been eavesdropped, and warned Peter Mandelson that the Business Secretary’s phone may have been penetrated.