BARRY GEORGE, the man cleared of murdering Jill Dando, has accepted “substantial” libel damages over tabloid claims he was a stalker and could also have been a murderer.
Mr George accepted the undisclosed amount offered by News Group Newspapers – owner of The Sun and the News of the World – at the High Court in London yesterday.
Mr George, from London, spent seven years in jail for the 1999 murder before being acquitted after a retrial in August 2008.
George’s counsel, Gordon Bishop, told the High Court that his client had brought the action over a number of articles published in The Sun and the News of the World between August and November last year.
Mr Bishop said publisher News Group had now withdrawn the “false allegations,” apologised and agreed to pay Mr George substantial damages and legal costs.
The court was told that News Group now recognised that articles published in The Sun on August 2, 2008, would have been understood to mean there were grounds to suspect George of the murder, despite his acquittal.
News Group’s solicitor, Ben Beabey, said: “The defendant takes this opportunity to correct matters and to apologise to Mr George for any hurt and distress he has felt.”
Following yesterday’s brief hearing, Mr George said: “I am pleased that the matter between myself and News Group Newspapers has been amicably settled following a successful mediation without the need for litigation.”
His sister, Michelle Diskin, who is lives in Ballincollig, Co Cork, and who led the campaign to prove his innocence, was at his side.
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