Feb 13, 5:18 AM EST

Trinity Mirror apologizes for phone hacking

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LONDON (AP) -- Trinity Mirror PLC, publisher of the Mirror newspapers, apologized Friday for phone hacking, admitting it was unacceptable intrusion into private lives.

The newspaper group offered "every victim a sincere and unreserved apology," in large type on page two of the Daily Mirror and said it will publish the same apology in the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People this weekend.

"We recognize that our actions will have caused them distress for which we are truly sorry," it said.

The police inquiries into eavesdropping and other wrongdoing by newspapers initially focused on Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World, which regularly hacked into the cell phone voicemails of celebrities and other public figures. But the investigation spread and several former Trinity Mirror staff were arrested.

Former CNN interviewer Piers Morgan, a former editor of the Daily Mirror, told an inquiry into media ethics that he was not aware of such wrongdoing while he led the newspaper between 1995 and 2004. The inquiry's head, Justice Brian Leveson, called Morgan's claim "utterly unpersuasive."

Trinity Mirror's statement did not say when the hacking occurred.

The group has settled claims with several celebrities including actor Christopher Eccleston and David and Victoria Beckham's former nanny, Abbie Gibson. Eight representative cases are set to be heard in March, including claims by actress Sadie Frost, former television executive Alan Yentob and the former wife of soccer star Paul Gascoigne.

The company increased its provision for claims by 8 million pounds ($12 million) to 12 million pounds ($18 million).

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