Benjamin “the Bin Man” Pell is turning to the Press Complaints Commission because he says the Sunday Express has refused to issue a proper apology after libelling him.
The paper paid Pell £125,000 earlier this month after he sued over an article which suggested he had passed the names of Bloody Sunday paratroopers to the IRA. The Sunday Express also agreed to pay Pell’s costs, estimated at £250,000.
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Pell achieved notoriety in the late Nineties after unearthing a series of high-profile newspaper scoops by rifling through the bins of celebrities and their lawyers. He says he plans to give the inside story of his row with the Sunday Express to rival tabloid, The Mail on Sunday.
He told Press Gazette: “We will raise it with the PCC because we are entitled to an apology and a statement in open court – but they’ve always refused to apologise.”
The Sunday Express story libelling Pell was published in February 2002 and included a photo of him with the headline: “This grubby snooper found the names of Bloody Sunday paras in a lawyer’s dustbin. Now the IRA know just who they are.”
Pell’s solicitor, Peter Jennings, said: “The Sunday Express position is that they admitted no liability.
“Normally a case like this will be settled and the newspaper will agree to publish an apology and put its hands up.
“They feel that having paid £125,000 and costs my client has done rather well and they don’t see why they should do any more. I don’t think there’s a lot of love lost between them.”
The Editors Code of Practice states: “Whenever it is recognised that a significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distorted report has been published, it must be corrected promptly and with due prominence.”
The Sunday Express declined to comment.
By Dominic Ponsford