Peaches Geldof sues Star over 'prostitute' claim

Wild child Peaches Geldof is demanding damages of £100,000 over a Daily Star headline which she claims branded her a prostitute.

Geldof says the front page, headlined: “Peaches: Spend Night with Me for £5k”, was defamatory, and meant that she was a prostitute charging £5,000 a night to provide sexual services.

The headline, which appeared in September 2008, gravely damaged her character and reputation, and caused her considerable distress and embarrassment, she says.

She is also seeking exemplary damages, saying the Daily Star published a deliberately suggestive headline in bold upper case black letters.

To have written the headline, the writer or editor must have read the text and knew that the headline did not support any text about her, and knew it was untrue to imply she was a prostitute, a High Court writ says.

Geldof, who describes herself as a journalist, television presenter, model and DJ, accuses publishers Express Newspapers of acting cynically, and hoping that people would buy the paper because they were interested in a story about her being a prostitute, rather than a story about her charging £5,000 to make personal appearances at celebrity parties, which was in itself untrue.

She argues she is also entitled to aggravated damages, saying the headline will have been read by a huge number of people in excess of audited circulation figures, who did not need to buy the paper to read the headline.

The Daily Star has refused to publish a front page apology and retraction, instead publishing two apologies on page two in February this year, she says.

Geldof claims this wholly inadequate positioning has aggravated her distress, and says this is at odds with the paper’s decision to publish a front page apology to Geri Halliwell in 2001 and the views of former Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer.

The paper admitted in October 2008 that the headline implied that she “provided services of a personal or sexual nature for the payment of a fee”, she says.

Geldof is now seeking damages and an injunction banning repetition of the words at the centre of her claim.

The writ was issued by Jonathan Coad of solicitors Swan Turton.

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