- Associated Press - Thursday, November 24, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Actress Sienna Miller told a media ethics inquiry Thursday that she was left paranoid and scared by years of relentless tabloid pursuit that ranged from paparazzi outside her house to the hacking of her mobile phone.

Miller said the surveillance, and a stream of personal stories about her in the tabloids, led her to accuse friends and family of leaking information to the media. In fact, her cell phone voice mails had been hacked at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid.

Miller, 29, became a tabloid staple when she dated fellow actor Jude Law. She said the constant scrutiny left her feeling “very violated and very paranoid and anxious, constantly.”

“I felt like I was living in some sort of video game,” she said.

She called the paparazzi focus on her terrifying.

“For a number of years I was relentlessly pursued by 10 to 15 men, almost daily,” she said. “Spat at, verbally abused.

“I would often find myself, at the age of 21, at midnight, running down a dark street on my own with 10 men chasing me. And the fact they had cameras in their hands made that legal.”

Miller, the star of “Layer Cake” and “Alfie,” was one of the first celebrities to take the News of the World to court over illegal eavesdropping. In May, the newspaper agreed to pay her 100,000 pounds ($160,000) to settle claims her phone had been hacked.

The newspaper’s parent company now faces dozens of lawsuits from alleged hacking victims.

Miller, who looked confident as she gave evidence at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, said challenging Murdoch’s media conglomerate had been a difficult decision.

“I was very nervous about taking on an empire that was richer and far more powerful than I will ever be,” she said. “It was very daunting.”

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling is due to give evidence later Thursday about the media intrusion on her life.

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the inquiry amid a still-unfolding scandal over illegal eavesdropping by the Murdoch-owned tabloid. Murdoch closed down the News of the World in July after evidence emerged that it had illegally accessed the mobile phone voice mails of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims in its search of scoops.

More than a dozen News of the World journalists and editors have been arrested over allegations of illegal eavesdropping, and the scandal has also claimed the jobs of two top London police officers, Cameron’s media adviser and several senior Murdoch executives.

The inquiry, led by Judge Brian Leveson, plans to issue a report next year and could recommend major changes to media regulation in Britain.

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