Lawyer for UK phone hacking victims says illegal eavesdropping was 'rife' at Mirror titles

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LONDON — A lawyer for phone-hacking victims says the illegal practice was "rife" at tabloids owned by Britain's Trinity Mirror PLC.

David Sherborne said Tuesday that the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People tabloids likely conducted illegal eavesdropping for several years from mid-1999.

Sherborne is representing plaintiffs including actress Sadie Frost, actor Shane Ritchie and former soccer player Paul Gascoigne. A High Court judge is hearing a case by eight claimants that will set guidelines for damages to be paid to hacking victims.

Britain's phone-hacking scandal erupted in 2011 with the revelation of wrongdoing at the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World. The furor led to the closure of that paper and the arrests of dozens of journalists.

The police investigation initially focused on Murdoch's papers, but has spread to other companies.

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