Andrew Marr in libel payout over terror claim

Campaigner Erin Pizzey has accepted undisclosed libel damages over a claim in a book by BBC journalist Andrew Marr that she was a supporter of British terror group the Angry Brigade.

Pizzey, who set up the country’s first women’s refuge in Chiswick, west London in 1972, had brought High Court proceedings against Macmillan Publishers Ltd, who brought out Marr’s A History of Modern Britain.

Her solicitor, Edward Yell, told Mrs Justice Sharp in London that it referred to her being a “cadet enthusiast” who broke with the Angry Brigade over their plan to bomb the Kensington boutique, Biba, in May 1971.

“These allegations are entirely without foundation. Ms Pizzey has never been a sympathiser or supporter of the Angry Brigade or their violent methods or their objectives, as Macmillan Publishers accepts.

“Macmillan is here today to withdraw the allegation unreservedly and to apologise for the distress and embarrassment which the publication has caused to Ms Pizzey.”

Macmillan’s solicitor, Niri Shan, said that Marr had intended to make an entirely complimentary reference to Ms Pizzey quitting the milieu of radical politics to go off and do something self-evidently useful, but accepted that the phrase could be easily misinterpreted – the phrase originated from a misreading of words used in a newspaper article.

He said that the publishers accepted that Pizzey was never a supporter of the Angry Brigade, apologised and had agreed to pay a significant sum to compensate her and her reasonable costs.

Afterwards, Pizzey said: “I am both relieved and delighted that this matter has now been amicably resolved.”

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