News Group pays £100k to Rooney

England player settles libel case over nightclub slap claim

Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney has accepted £100,000 damages from the publishers of The Sun and The News of the World after the newspapers falsely alleged that he slapped his fiancée, Coleen McLoughlin.


The 20-year-old star and Miss McLouglin had always strenuously denied claims that he slapped her at Brasingamens nightclub in Alderley Edge, Cheshire on 10 April last year. The trial of the action had been due to commence on 2 May 2006.


At the High Court in London the newspapers’ publishers, News Group Newspapers Ltd, accepted the allegations were false and apologised.


Ronald Thwaites QC, for Mr Rooney, told the court that the Defendant had published the allegations in The Sun on 12 April followed by an article in The News of the World on 17 April last year.


Mr Thwaites told Mr Justice Eady at the High Court in London: “The allegations were and are completely false and indefensible. The defendant got it wrong. The claimant and his fiancée Coleen McLoughlin were devastated by the publication of these false allegations.” They had suffered “enormous embarrassment and distress” as a result, he said.


John Kelsey Fry QC, representing News Group, said that the newspapers apologised to Mr Rooney and accepted that the allegations were false.


Lawyers for the player said he would be donating the damages to charity.


5RB‘s Matthew Nicklin (instructed by Schillings) was junior counsel for Wayne Rooney and Adam Wolanski (instructed by Farrer & Co) was junior counsel for News Group.