Actress Nikki Sanderson to give evidence in High Court hacking trial

The 39-year-old actress is suing Mirror Group Newspapers claiming journalists at its titles used unlawful information-gathering methods.

Actress Nikki Sanderson to give evidence in High Court hacking trial

Actress Nikki Sanderson is due to enter the witness box at the High Court in London to give evidence in her claim against the publisher of the Mirror for alleged unlawful information gathering.

Former Coronation Street star Ms Sanderson, 39, is suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for damages, claiming journalists at its titles – which also include the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People – were linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called “blagging” or gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators for unlawful activities.

Her case is one of four representative claims being heard in London, alongside similar claims brought by the Duke of Sussex, Coronation Street actor Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman.

Ms Sanderson, who played Candice Stowe in Coronation Street between 1999 and 2005, is due to enter the witness box to give evidence on Friday.

Her barrister David Sherborne told the court on Thursday that Ms Sanderson only became aware she had a potential claim against MGN after chatting with Hollyoaks co-star Gary Lucy.

Barrister David Sherborne
Ms Sanderson’s barrister David Sherborne said his client’s claim spanned a period of 10 years (Lucy North/PA)

Mr Sherborne said Ms Sanderson was “surprised” when Mr Lucy told her that, based on a case he was bringing against MGN at the time, she would “definitely” have a claim.

He added: “Prior to her conversation with Mr Lucy, she had nothing on her mind to do with being hacked.”

The barrister said Ms Sanderson, who filed her claim in December 2020, says she had never heard about the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, knew that the News Of The World had closed but not why, and had no knowledge of the previous High Court phone-hacking trial in 2015.

Mr Sherborne told the court that Ms Sanderson had been an actress “for most of her life”, first appearing in the long-running soap when she was aged 15.

“Indeed, she would say she grew up on the show until she left in 2005,” the barrister said.

Mr Sherborne said Ms Sanderson’s claim spanned a period of 10 years, 1999 to 2009, and that she complains about 37 articles in Mirror titles.

The Rolls Buildings in central London
Ms Sanderson’s case is one of four representative claims being heard in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

MGN has previously denied that 35 of the 37 articles involved phone hacking or unlawful information gathering, with one article being not admitted.

Mr Sherborne said MGN had apologised to Ms Sanderson for the “first time” in a document submitted for the trial, adding that this was “despite the fact that her claim has been going on for three years”.

The trial previously heard that Ms Sanderson felt like she was “public property” and experienced abuse in the street following “false insinuations” in articles published by MGN titles.

In its trial defence, the publisher says Ms Sanderson’s claim is brought too late, but “unreservedly apologises” over four payments made to private investigators which it admits are evidence of instructions to unlawfully obtain her private information.

The publisher also claims that evidence does not suggest Ms Sanderson’s phone was successfully hacked.

MGN previously brought a bid to have Ms Sanderson’s claim thrown out but it was allowed to proceed by Mr Justice Fancourt in a May 2022 ruling.

The trial is due to resume at 11am on Friday following a hearing in relation to an application by the duke, which may be held in private.

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