Actor Jude Law, his former wife Sadie Frost, and ex- deputy Prime Minister John Prescott are among a string of high-profile public figures whom Rupert Murdoch’s British media group, News International, has been forced to pay millions of pounds in compensation over phone-hacking by the now-defunct News of the World.

News International on Thursday apologised in the High Court here as it confirmed payouts to phone-hacking victims.

Law, whose phone was repeatedly hacked between 2003-2006 was paid £130,000 while Frost received £50,000. Some 16 stories about his private life based on information obtained by hacking his phone were published during this period.

His personal assistant Ben Jackson was awarded £40,000, and his public relations consultant Ciara Parkes £35,000.

Mr. Prescott who was put under surveillance by NoW amid reports of his extra-marital affair with his secretary got £40,000. Labour MP and a former minister Denis McShane was paid £32,500.

Others who received payouts included Sara Payne, mother of the murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne whose phone was hacked after she went missing in July 2000. She received an undisclosed sum.

It was the Sarah Payne incident that forced the police to reopen the inquiry into the hacking scandal resulting in the closure of NoW and several high-profile resignations at News International.

Recounting his experience, Law said that he was forced to change his phone number several times after he suspected that it was being hacked.

"I was suspicious about how information concerning my private life was coming out in the press. I changed my phones, I had my house swept for bugs but still the information kept being published. I started to become distrustful of people close to me," he said in a statement.

Mr. Prescott said the settlement "brought clarity, apology and compensation" after years of "aggressive denials and a cavalier approach to private information and the law".

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