Wrongly accused murder suspect Colin Stagg gets £15,500 phone hacking payout from News of the World publisher
Colin Stagg has been awarded £15,500 after a newspaper illegally hacked his phone and blagged his medical records.
Mr Stagg, whose name was famously dragged through the mud after being wrongly accused of murdering Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common 20 years ago, is one of 17 people whose claims were read out in court last week.
The 49-year-old from Roehampton described it as “sweet revenge” after accepting the “substantial” damages from News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of The News of the World.
He sued the company after being targeted in the early 2000s, despite being acquitted of the murder in 1994 and winning a public apology from the Home Office, which awarded him £706,000 in compensation.
In December 2012 he said: "Justice has been done and I'm very pleased. I look on this money as part payment for all the years of vilification I suffered at the hands of the press in general.
"It's going towards a new 4x4 and some treats for my girlfriend and her family.
"And it's also sweet revenge on the NoW in particular. About eight years ago they set a honeytrap, using an exotic Asian girl to befriend me.”
The true killer, Robert Napper, was eventually found guilty in 2008 of stabbing the young mother in front of her two-year-old son in 1992.
At the High Court on February 8, Justice Sir Geoffrey Vos read statements on behalf of Mr Stagg and 16 other claimants who were awarded damages and a public apology from NGN, which also publishes The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times.
They included singer James Blunt, former Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston, entertainer Uri Geller, actor Hugh Grant, and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
The court heard Mr Stagg received £15,500 damages, plus his legal costs, and a public apology from NGN for the damage and distress caused to him.
The News of the World was shut down by News International’ s chairman Rupert Murdoch in 2011 after journalists were accused of hacking the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.