- Associated Press - Thursday, November 24, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Author J.K. Rowling has told a U.K. media ethics inquiry she felt under siege from intrusive journalists who staked out her house and went as far as to slip a letter into her 5-year-old daughter’s school bag.

The creator of boy wizard Harry Potter says Thursday that media interest began shortly after the publication of her first novel in 1997, and soon escalated, with photographers and reporters frequently stationed outside her home.

Once, her daughter came home from primary school and Rowling found a letter from a journalist in her backpack. Rowling says she felt a huge sense of invasion at the move.

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Leveson Inquiry: http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/

Jill Lawless can be reached at: http://twitter.com/JillLawless

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

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, who has campaigned to keep her children out of the media glare, is due to give evidence later Thursday about media intrusion.

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.

Miller took the stand after another witness was allowed to give evidence in private. The courtroom was cleared of the press as the witness, identified only as HJK, testified about suffering intrusions while in a relationship with a well-known figure, whose identity was also kept secret.

Former Formula One boss Max Mosley, who has campaigned for a privacy law since his interest in sadomasochistic sex was exposed in the News of the World, broadened the focus in testimony Thursday, discussing the difficulty of squashing malicious stories in the Internet age.

Mosley successfully sued the News of the World over a 2008 story headlined “Formula One boss has sick Nazi orgy with five hookers.” Mosley has acknowledged the orgy, but argued that the story _ obtained with a hidden camera _ was an “outrageous” invasion of privacy. He said the Nazi allegation was damaging and “completely untrue.”

Mosley said he has had stories about the incident removed from 193 websites around the world, and is currently taking legal action “in 22 or 23 different countries,” including proceedings against search engine Google in France and Germany.

“The fundamental thing is that Google could stop this appearing but they don’t or won’t as a matter of principle,” he said. “The really dangerous things are the search engines.”

“You work all your life to try and achieve something or do something useful,” Mosley added. “And suddenly something like this happens and that’s what you’re remembered for.”

High-profile witnesses still to come include CNN celebrity interviewer Piers Morgan, who has denied using phone hacking while he was editor of the Daily Mirror newspaper.

The hearings have heard allegations of media malpractice and intrusion that extend far beyond the News of the World.

Witnesses have included celebrities like actor Hugh Grant and ordinary people pursued in times of grief, including the parents of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler, whose voice mails were accessed by the News of the World after she disappeared in 2002.

Her parents said the hacking gave them false hope their daughter was still alive during the investigation into her disappearance.

On Wednesday, the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann said they were left distraught by false stories and the publication of private information by the tabloid press.

Kate and Gerry McCann told the inquiry they felt powerless in the face of stories, based on concocted evidence, suggesting they had killed their daughter. Madeleine had vanished when she was three during the British family’s 2007 vacation in Portugal.

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Leveson Inquiry: http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/

Jill Lawless can be reached at: http://twitter.com/JillLawless