Wayne Rooney files phone hacking claim

Published Apr 20 2012, 15:06 BST  |  By

Wayne Rooney - The Manchester United star celebrates his 26th birthday today.

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Wayne Rooney is among a new group of high-profile public figures taking legal action against Rupert Murdoch's News International over alleged phone hacking by journalists at the News of the World.

The Manchester United footballer, alongside his agent Paul Stretford, former England rugby star Matt Dawson, actor James Nesbitt and model Emma Noble, has today filed legal papers at the High Court in London.

Others who are seeking damages over alleged phone hacking and invasion of privacy by News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers include former Fire Brigades Union general secretary Andy Gilchrist and ex-Conservative cabinet member Lord Blencathra.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing victims of the alleged hacking, told justice Vos at a hearing today that he had filed 44 new claims, while two others had been submitted via another legal representative.

Law firm Harbottle & Lewis said that it has a number of "sensitive clients" involved in the civil action who would like to remain anonymous, The Guardian reports

It is thought that up to 200 new claims could be filed over the coming months as part of a second wave of civil actions against Murdoch-owned newspapers.

Earlier this year, more than 50 cases were settled by News Group Newspapers, including Charlotte Church, Steve Coogan, Jude Law and Ashley Cole.

High-profile figures involved in the new round of cases include Cherie Blair, Jamie Theakston, David Beckham's father Ted, Jeff Brazier, former boxer Chris Eubank, and footballers Peter Crouch, Kieron Dyer and Jermaine Jenas.

Bobby Davro and his ex-wife also recently decided to take legal action against the publisher after they were subject to a string of lurid headlines in the early 2000s.

Possibly even more serious for Murdoch and his News Corporation media empire is that Mark Lewis, the lawyer who has represented various alleged victims of press intrusion, is currently in talks to represent four people who believe their phones were hacked on US soil.

As News Corp is based in America, the spread of the scandal across the Atlantic could have potentially serious ramifications for the company's multi-billion dollar base of operations.

Next week, Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch are due to give evidence in person at the Leveson inquiry into press standards and ethics in London.