Developer wins libel action over model "attack"

Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:17am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A London property developer won 30,000 pounds ($48,730) in libel damages on Thursday over a newspaper claim that he had beaten up model Sophie Anderton.

Ed Buxton had brought proceedings in the High Court over a story in The Sunday Mirror in July.

The article alleged Buxton was guilty of a serious and vicious attack on Anderton which had caused such permanent damage that her face was "totally ruined" and that it would almost certainly destroy her career as a model.

The article was accompanied by a photograph of Anderton with the caption "Sophie ... in a terrible state" and with the sub-heading "She fears for career because of injuries."

Mark Thomson, for Buxton, said the paper now accepted the allegations were completely untrue.

Buxton had not attacked Ms Anderton nor had he caused any injury to her face, he told the court.

"Although (he) was arrested following a complaint by Ms Anderton, no charges were ever brought and the police dropped any prosecution of the matter," Thomson said.

"As was inevitable, he has been asked about the article by his family, friends and business associates and has had to vigorously defend himself, all of which was entirely unnecessary."

Lindsay Hodgkinson, for the newspaper's publishers MGN, offered its sincere apologies.

"The defendant acknowledges that this false and defamatory allegation should never have been published," Hodgkinson added.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Paul Casciato)