Hoax Facebook page costs Star and Heat libel payouts

Cheryl Cole's brother, Garry Tweedy, has accepted undisclosed damages in settlement of his libel actions over claims that he was a convicted criminal.

Tweedy sued over stories which appeared in Heat magazine and the Daily Star - which appear to have been based on a hoax Facebook page.

His solicitor, Steven Tregear, told Mrs Justice Sharp that the story which appeared in Heat in April this year story was flagged on the front page as "Cheryl's family from Hell" and featured a photo of Tweedy alongside the caption "Reveals prison past on Facebook".

The article inside made a number of statements about Tweedy which meant that he was a convicted criminal who had been in prison.

Tregear said that Tweedy had never been charged or convicted of any criminal offence or been sent to prison, and had proved to the magazine that the allegation was untrue.

"The defendant's allegation was based on a Facebook profile which it now accepts was a hoax," he told the judge.

The article in the Daily Star, which appeared the same month, was entitled "Cheryl in peril" and said that Tweedy had admitted on his Facebook profile that he had been in prison a few times, added the solicitor.

"The Facebook profile the defendant relied upon was a fake, the claimant did not post the comment and he has never been charged or convicted of any criminal offence or sent to prison," he said.

Tregear said that publishers Bauer Consumer Media Ltd and Express Newspapers had apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused, and had agreed to pay Tweedy damages and his legal costs by way of compensation.

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