The first witness was Lauren Alcorn, a flight attendant with Virgin Atlantic who, in the early 2000s had a relationship with footballer Rio Ferdinand. She complained of five articles which she believed were the product of phone hacking.
In the course of giving evidence she broke down in tears. She told the court because of the articles Mr Ferdinand became suspicious that she was talking to the press. She said
I’m a very private person, and never, ever wanted to be in the public eye, and even walking into court today is my worst nightmare. So just to know that all my personal information was being listened to over so many years, and such private and personal things like talking about — like the death of my father, things that wouldn’t have been of any interest to anybody, but to know all that was listened to, is really upsetting.
She said that as a result of the Mirror articles she was “forced out of home earlier than [she] would have wanted to because of the embarrassment it brought upon my family”.
In relation to MGN’s apology she said
I felt like it had no sincerity whatsoever. I just wanted to rip it up and put it in the bin. I thought the timing was very coincidental, just prior to the trial.
The next witness was actor Steve McFadden. He had a relationship with claimant Lucy Benjamin for three years between 2000 and 2003. He said that they were the subject of intense tabloid scrutiny and he felt “hunted like a fox”. MGN has admitted that 17 articles about Ms Benjamin were the result of phone hacking.
He told the court that the articles published by MGN had destroyed his relationship with Ms Benjamin . He said that she had been left “sobbing inconsolably in the foetal position” by one story in 2002.
The final witness was claimant Shane Roche (whose stage name is Shane Richie). He told the judge that he had fallen out with his co-star Jessie Wallace because they didn’t trust each other as a result of all the tabloid stories:
she didn’t trust me and I certainly — I didn’t trust her, because we both thought we were selling each other down the river with stories, which we found out obviously wasn’t true.
Mr Roche said that he fell out with his mother in law and his manager as a result of articles resulting from phone hacking because he thought that they were selling stories.
Mr Richie accepted the apology offered buy Trinity Mirror and MGN and said that the damage done to relationships had been repaired
In the course of Mr Richie’s cross-examination the Judge, Mr Justice Mann, accused counsel for MGN of indulging in “illegitimate ambushing”.
In addition to Ms Alcorn and Mr Richie, there are six other representative claimants, soap stars Shobna Gulati and Lucy Benjamin, TV producer Robert Ashworth, actress Sadie Frost, former footballer Paul Gascoigne and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn.
The case continues.