Policeman behind blog wins payout from Times

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A Leyland police detective unmasked as the writer of an anonymous blog after a Times journalist hacked into his email has been awarded £42,500 in damages.

Richard Horton, who works for Leyland CID, was exposed by the Newspaper International title as the author of the award-winning NightJack blog in 2009.

Mr Horton sued the newspaper for damages for breach of confidence, misuse of public information and deceit.

News International will pay damages and legal costs.

The newspaper revealed his identity after the High Court decided not to award Mr Horton an injunction, preventing the publication of his identity.

But, the court was not told at the time that the information was, in part, gathered by email hacking.

At the time, DC Horton was disciplined by Lancashire Police over the blog which carried criticisms of government ministers and police bureaucracy.

Mark Lewis, of Taylor Hampton Solicitors, the lawyer representing Mr Horton, said: “Although a substantial financial settlement has been achieved there is nothing that can undo the effect of the intrusion in the first place.”

Mr Lewis said he could not comment further as police are still investigating the actions of the Times journalist as part of Operation Tuleta, Scotland Yard’s ongoing inquiry into email hacking by the media.

In a statement to the New Statesman magazine, Mr Horton said he was “happy to have settled” with the newspaper.

The NightJack blog chronicled Mr Horton’s working life in an unnamed north west town.

It won the Orwell Prize for blogging in 2009, but he has not written since his identity was exposed.

The court’s decision was published in yesterday’s edition of The Times.

Times editor James Harding told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards in February that he “sorely regretted” the intrusion and “expected better” of his paper.