NoW sales soar thanks to back-to-back Becks scoops

The NoW says it stands by its two Beckham splashes 100 per cent

The News of the World is understood to have put on more than 100,000 sales on each of the past two Sundays with its revelations about David Beckham’s love life.

As Beckham this week said he was “instructing” his lawyers, the NoW has said it stands by its story “100 per cent”. Independent legal sources say the Beckhams are unlikely to sue.

The NoW had been working on the story that Beckham was having an affair with his formal personal assistant Rebecca Loos for more than six months. This Sunday it claimed the England captain had a second lover.

The allegations, and the publication of explicit text messages reportedly sent between Beckham and Loos, give the previously litigious footballer several possible grounds for suing.

But the NoWhas yet to be contacted by Beckham’s lawyers and neither has the Press Complaints Commission. A NoW spokesman said: “Editor Andy Coulson would not have run seven pages last week and 13 pages this week if he wasn’t absolutely sure that it was 100 per cent true. There would be huge repercussions if it wasn’t. This investigation has kept fully within the law and the PCC code. Whatever others say, what it boils down to is oldfashioned journalism.”

A source at the NoW said claims Loos had been paid £350,000 by the paper for her story were “hugely exaggerated”.

But they confirmed the paper had paid her a six-figure sum.

Media lawyer Niri Shan, from Taylor Wessing, said ordinary libel damages for the adultery allegation could total £50,000 if Beckham successfully sued for libel, with costs of £1m. Special damages could run into millions if Beckham was able to prove loss of earnings because of damage to his reputation. Shan said Beckham could also sue for breach of copyright for publishing his text messages and for breach of confidence because it was likely Loos signed a gagging clause when working for him.

Shan said: “The Beckhams probably have good claims under data protection and copyright regarding the publication of text messages and a good claim for confidentiality against their former PA. However, if they sue for these causes of action it will amount to an admission that he sent the text messages. Also, if they sue for confidentiality, and not libel, the implications are the allegations are true.

“If they had a good case I would have expected them to apply for an injunction. It’s quite telling that they didn’t apply for one to stop the allegations coming out.” He added: “I think they will go on a PR offensive and I’ll be surprised if they do sue, because the damage has been done.”

Maddie Mogford, from lawyers Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, said: “David Beckham has not expressly denied the stories but dismissed them as ludicrous or absurd. If he sued for defamation – for saying that he, a happily married man, was sleeping around – he would have an uphill struggle in explaining away the text messages.”

NoW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck wrote the Beckham story and has been with the paper for 10 years. His previous scoops include the revelation that Lord Archer faked the alibi he used in his 1987 libel trial and the exposure of Robin Cook’s affair.

In a media battle that spilled over from the tabloids to television this week, Sky News won an exclusive interview with Loos. Sky anchor Kay Burley flew out to Spain to question her in a deal said to involve a sixfigure sum.

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