UK: More than 5,000 are victims of News of the World phone hacking

THE number of possible victims of phone hacking by the News of the World now stands at close to 5,800, police have revealed.

The current total of 5,795 is just under 2,000 more than the previous figure of 3,870 given at July’s Home Affairs Committee meeting.

Scotland Yard said in a statement yesterday: “Operation Weeting continues to analyse relevant material.

“It is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been ‘hacked’ but we can confirm that as of today’s date (November 3) the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material (and who may therefore be victims), where names are noted, is 5,795.

“This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis.”

The new total came as Carol Caplin, who worked with former prime minister Tony Blair, became the latest celebrity to emerge as a possible victim.

A spokesman for Ms Caplin, 49, said she had recently been notified by police that her mobile phone messages were hacked by Glenn Mulcaire while he was working for the now defunct Sunday paper.

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A number of high-profile figures have taken legal action against News International since the scandal emerged.

A High Court judge is due to hear evidence from a group of “lead claimants” at a trial in January - and any rulings he makes are expected to provide a blueprint for the way other claims are dealt with.

A separate public inquiry - set up by Prime Minister David Cameron and headed by senior judge Lord Justice Leveson - is also due to hear evidence on media ethics and hacking over the next year.

Last month, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said he had donated �1 million to charities chosen by the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler to underscore his regret for the “abhorrent” hacking of her phone after she went missing.

News International confirmed it was also paying the Dowler family �2 million in settlement of their civil claim over the illegal interception of Milly’s voicemail messages by a private investigator working for the News of the World after she disappeared in 2002.

The revelation that her phone was hacked by the News of the World triggered a storm of outrage which led to the Sunday tabloid’s closure in July.