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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 17:42 GMT
Rock manager wins 'sex act' case
Bullet for My Valentine
Bullet For My Valentine were nominated for Kerrang awards in 2006
A heavy metal band tour manager has been awarded 40,000 libel damages by the High Court over a claim he was caught masturbating at work.

Mark Stickland said he was portrayed as a "sexual deviant" in the January 2006 edition of music magazine Kerrang!

Publisher Emap Metro had argued the claim, made in an interview with the band Bullet For My Valentine, was true.

Mr Stickland, 36, denied the incident, adding the article made him feel "angry, humiliated, hurt and upset".

'Ordinary guy'

The article in which the allegation was made warned readers to "prepare to be disgusted" by the "sickest interview ever" with Bullet For My Valentine.

It included a comment from the band's drummer Moose - real name Michael Thomas - in which he claimed the band's tour manager in Germany in December 2005 was found masturbating at his desk.

Although Mr Stickland was not named directly, he was the band's tour manager at the time.

William McCormic, counsel for Mr Stickland, told Mr Justice Tugendhat that the incident never happened.

He said that Mr Stickland, who lives in Nottingham, was a "fairly ordinary guy" who took a quiet pride in doing his job well and enjoyed the respect of friends and acquaintances.

"What's being said is that when he should have been at work, he engaged in activity which was lewd, sexual and, effectively, he could not control his sexual impulses," Mr McCormic said.

Apology

Emap Metro said it was an allegation of clandestine and ordinary sexual behaviour which was not defamatory, and was also true.

Mr Stickland, who has worked for bands in Europe, the US and in Australia, said: "I felt very awkward picking up the phone and asking people for work. The bands I work with are all heavy metal bands and, in the heavy metal business, everyone reads Kerrang!"

After the hearing, Mr Stickland said: "All I ever wanted to do was clear my name and I believe that is what's happened.

"I'm very relieved it's all over - it's been a year to get where we are."

The publisher was refused permission to appeal after the unanimous jury verdict, although it can apply directly to the Court of Appeal.




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