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Phone-hacking case builds momentum as more public figures step forward

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A serious head of steam developed yesterday as more celebrities stepped forward to challenge the Metropolitan Police Service over its refusal to release information concerning alleged privacy violations by News of the World investigators.

Last week, Lord Prescott, Chris Bryant MP, former deputy assistant police commissioner Brian Paddick, and writer/journalist Brendan Montague announced they were joining forces to request judicial review of the Met's conduct. While this week, comedian Steve Coogan, TV presenter Chris Tarrant, actress Sienna Miller, footballer Paul Gascoigne, and jockey Kieren Fallon, among others, added their weight to the campaign.

The purpose of the inquiry is to hold Scotland Yard to account for dropping its investigation into alleged phone hacking by the News of the World and failing to tell victims about how they were affected.

The Guardian has compiled a list of the 32 victims identified so far, but says the Met has failed to inform well over 4,000 other people about unlawful violations of their privacy.

Former News of the World editor and now Tory spin doctor Andy Coulson has come under immense pressure to explain his relationship with convicted phone-hackers and other criminals in recent weeks.

A number of private investigators employed by the News of the World while Mr Coulson worked at the paper -- including Glenn Mulcaire, John Boyall and Steve Whittamore -- have been convicted of bribing police officers, intercepting private phone calls and voicemails, and illegally procuring confidential private information.

Claims against the News of the World for breach of privacy are still pending, although two victims have already settled out of court -- publicist Max Clifford apparently received a £1m settlement and Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, £700,000.

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