Piers Morgan Faces New Phone Hacking Claims

LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - British newspapers belonging to Trinity Mirror are facing legal claims for phone hacking by four people, including former England football coach Sven Goran Eriksson, media said on Monday.

The only company previously sued for illegally hacking voicemail messages was News Group Newspapers, publishers of the now-defunct News of the World newspaper, which was part News International, the British arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire.

The latest claims allege that Mirror group journalists listened to the mobile phone messages of Eriksson, Abbie Gibson, former nanny for the Beckham family, former English football player Garry Flitcroft and actress Shobna Gulati.

The claims allege "breach of confidence and misuse of private information" relating to the "interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone account".

No particulars of the claims have been filed, according to an article published on the Financial Times website.

Hacking allegations have in the past been directed at the Mirror titles, but the publisher of papers including the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People has always strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

The four claimants, represented by Mark Lewis, who also represented other celebrities and claimants in action taken against News International, have four months to serve claims on Trinity Mirror, the FT said.

"There might not be a documentary smoking gun, but we will show there is a smoking bullet, the consequence of the actions," Lewis told Sky News on Monday.

Lewis was not immediately available for further comment.

The filed claims allege phone hacking took place at the Daily Mirror when Piers Morgan, who edited Murdoch's News of the World from 1994 to 1995 before editing the Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004, was editor.

Morgan, now a CNN talk-show host in the United States, has consistently denied authorising phone hacking during his time as editor, which includes rejecting the claims at a high-profile Leveson Inquiry appearance in December.

Trinity Mirror has said publicly that it did not carry out an investigation into any alleged illegal practices at its titles because there was no evidence its journalists had hacked any phones.