NoW U-turn on Victoria Beckham kidnap claim

The News of the World today admitted that a Romanian man it accused of being involved in a plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham was actually not involved.

The paper reported on the front page in November 2002 that Alin Turcu (real name Bogdan Maris) was part of a five-man gang plotting to kidnap the pop singer. The story came about after an undercover sting in which investigations editor Mazher Mahmood infiltrated the alleged kidnap gang.

A trial of the men collapsed in 2003 after a row over the payment of one of the witnesses by the News of the World.

In May, Turcu lost a libel case against the News of the World after he failed to appear in court or offer any statement of evidence. He was represented by lawyer David Price on a no win, no fee basis.

The court heard in May that Turcu was a petty criminal with a string of convictions and decided that the newspaper's original story was true.

But this week Price was due to take the case to the Court of Appeal and it was instead settled at the eleventh hour.

Today the NoW publicly agreed to make a modest contribution to a charity of Turcu's choice, to make a contribution to his legal costs and not repeat the claims.

NoW solicitor Ben Beabey said: "I agree with what my learned friend has said and offer the defendant's apologies to the claimant. Mr Justice Eady found that there was a plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham. The defendant now accepts that this plot did not include the claimant."

Turcu's solicitor David Price said: "In the circumstances, I simply ask for an order in terms of the draft that has been provided to the Court."


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