Stalemate in Archbishop spokesman libel trial

A libel case brought by a former spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church over an accusation of hypocrisy over abortion ended in stalemate today after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

Austen Ivereigh, 41, claimed that an article which appeared in the Daily Mail in June 2006 cost him his £46,000-a-year job as head of public affairs for the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the head of the church in England and Wales.

He told Mr Justice Eady and a jury at London’s High Court that the article falsely alleged he was a “man without honour” who had not practised what he preached in relation to two ex-lovers.

In a highly-charged 10-day case, he disputed claims by two divorcees – Siobhan Vitelli and a woman who can only be identified as Madame X – who alleged that his lack of support when they became pregnant forced them to contemplate abortion.

Associated Newspapers denied libel, saying the story was true.

The jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict after four hours of deliberation.

Afterwards, outside court, Ivereigh said: “All I can say is the case will continue until I clear my name.

“We will carry on.”

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