U.K. Phone Hacking Legal Claims Move Beyond Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Piers Morgan

"He came off like the slightly crazy uncle at the Christmas party who's had one too many sherries and doesn't quite get it."

The parent company of the Daily Mirror is facing four claims, including one focused on the time when Piers Morgan was editor of the tabloid.

LONDON -- Phone-hacking legal claims in the U.K. have for the first time moved beyond Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., with one claim targeting a tabloid during the time it was led by CNN host Piers Morgan.

The stock of British newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror took a hit Tuesday following news that four civil damages claims are being brought against a unit of the company related to alleged phone hacking. As of 3:30 p.m. London time, the stock of the company behind the Daily Mirror and other publications, was down more than 8.4 percent.

According to The Guardian, the civil lawsuits, the first civil hacking claims not filed against News Corp.'s News International unit here, are being brought by Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati; Abbie Gibson, the former nanny for David Beckham and Victoria Beckham's children; former England national soccer team manager Sven-Goran Eriksson; and former soccer player Garry Flitcroft.

Eriksson's claim focuses on the Daily Mirror tabloid during the time when Morgan was its editor. The paper's editor from 1995 until 2004, Morgan provided evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into media standards and ethics in December. In his apperance, he repeatedly denied knowledge of any illegal newsgathering techniques.

The three other claims focused on the Sunday Mirror and sister publication The People.

The report said full details of the claims will be filed after an initial court submission late Monday. A spokesman for the Trinity Mirror unit told The Guardian: "We have no comment; we are unaware action has been taken at the high court."

Sly Bailey, the former CEO of the firm, told the Leveson Inquiry this year that there was "no evidence that our journalists have been involved in phone hacking."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai