Ex-EastEnder Mohammed George starts Sun libel action

A former EastEnders star has begun a high court libel action over a newspaper story he says wrongly accused him of acting like a wild animal and ‘beating up’ the mother of his daughter.

Mohammed George, 26, who played roadsweeper Gus in the BBC soap for more than five years, is asking a jury in London to award him damages against The Sun.

His QC, Ronald Thwaites, told jurors yesterday that George, known as Mo, “is here because he wants to complain to you about articles that appeared in The Sun newspaper about him which he says seriously and unfairly damaged his reputation”.

He said that was disputed by the newspaper, which is contesting George’s claim during a hearing estimated to last up to 10 days.

Thwaites said: “In a nutshell the allegation against him is that he flew into a rage in the street in the early hours of the morning of December 3, 2006, and beat up his then girlfriend and mother of his daughter, acting like a wild animal and leaving her sprawling in the street when he ran away.”

The allegation, he added, was that “he beats women, that he beats them mercilessly in the street” and that he “runs off like a coward”.

The QC said: “He says this is completely untrue, a false picture.”

There was an incident and an argument and some “to-ing and fro-ing” between himself and then girlfriend Emma Archibald after they left a restaurant in Camden, north London, but it was nothing like that alleged, the court heard.

He said that to George an allegation that he was a “woman beater” was “one step away from being described as a paedophile”.

“He takes it very seriously. He says it damaged his reputation and damaged his prospects as an actor.”

Thwaites said that when George contacted the newspaper to complain “they responded by saying they had nothing to put right, they stood by the truth of what they had written”.

Giving evidence from the witness box, George, who left EastEnders last year, said he was similar to the character he had portrayed, telling the jury: “I am a very sensitive person. I write poetry myself.”

He said he was a “very calm and laid back” person who did not fly into rages and did not have a short fuse.

Thwaites asked him: “Are you someone who is prepared to hit women?”

He replied: “No way.”

News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, denies libel. The hearing was adjourned and continues later today.

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