‘Tapas Seven’ win libel damages

Express Newspapers to pay £375,000 to friends of the McCanns

Express Newspapers has apologised to seven friends of Kate and Gerry McCann over a series of articles – published in the Daily Express, the Sunday Express and the Daily Star between July and December last yearwhich suggested that at least some of the group had been identified as possible suspects in respect of the disappearance of the McCann’s daughter Madeleine. They have also agreed to pay a total of £375,000 in damages.

In a statement made before Mr Justice Eady at the High Court yesterday, the group’s solicitor Adam Tudor of Carter-Ruck said that the Express “accepts that these allegations are wholly untrue and that there is no evidence to support them.” He said that the group will donate the damages to the Find Madeleine Fund.

Keith Mathieson of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, for the newspapers, said the company “apologises for publishing false allegations” and “regrets the distress caused”.

Earlier this year the McCanns themselves won damages and front page apologies from the same newspaper group, as did Robert Murat, the Briton made an official suspect by the Portuguese police.