Mirror pays substantial damages to Barry George

Barry George, who was cleared of murdering Jill Dando, today accepted substantial libel damages over claims that he was obsessed with TV personality Cheryl Cole and journalist Kay Burley.

George, who was acquitted of Ms Dando’s murder after a retrial in August 2008, was at the High Court with his sister Michelle Diskin, who led the campaign to prove his innocence after his 2001 conviction, to hear his counsel, Gordon Bishop, tell Mr Justice Eady that he had brought the case over articles on the Sunday Mirror, The People and on the Daily Mirror website in October and November 2008.

It was alleged that George had downloaded pictures of Sky TV presenter Burley on to his computer and that he had claimed that he loved her and she loved him, and that he had illegally attempted to obtain drugs from a hospital by fraudulently claiming to be someone else.

It was also claimed that he had threatened to pester and harass Cole and those working with her so that he could meet the X Factor judge.

Bishop said that MGN Ltd, the newspapers’ publisher, now accepted that all those allegations, together with a claim that George had harassed and stalked a nurse, were false.

It withdrew them and had agreed to pay George substantial damages and his costs.

MGN’s solicitor, Emily Barber, said it apologised for any hurt and distress George had felt.

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