'Belle de Jour' ex in Sunday Times £100k libel claim

An RAF officer and former boyfriend of sex blogger ‘Belle de Jour’ is suing the Sunday Times for libel.

Owen Morris is demanding £100,000 in damages from Sunday Times publishers Times Newspapers over a story that appeared in March 2010 headlined ‘Life without the mask of Belle de Jour’- about the woman, whose real name is Brooke Magnanti.

He is also suing over a second story – ‘Brooke Magnanti: The World’s Fastest Interview’– that appeared in the Sunday Times in November 2010.

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Morris, of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, is also suing over internet versions of the same two stories.

According to a High Court writ, he had a seven-year relationship with Belle de Jour – who outed herself in an interview with the Sunday Times in November 2009 – and Morris was widely identified as her former boyfriend.

The first story claimed she had successfully won a court order restraining him from contacting her because he was guilty of seriously harassing her, and that he had approached tabloids to expose her identity as a call girl, then deliberately lied to conceal his actions claiming it was the tabloids who had approached him.

Morris is seeking aggravated damages, claiming the paper made no attempt at checking the allegations with him before publication and had refused to apologise for the stories.

He is also demanding an injunction banning the paper from repeating the allegations at the centre of his claim.

Morris has instructed solicitor Stephen Shotnes of Simons Muirhead and Burton to act for him.

Times Newspapers said it could not comment on the case but acknowledged it had received the claim.



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