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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 11:53 GMT
Beckham pays out in slander row
David and Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham queried the validity of an autograph
Pop star Victoria Beckham has agreed to pay 55,000 damages to settle a High Court slander action after she allegedly said a shop was selling fake autographs of her husband.

The action was brought by the owners of GT's Recollections in Kent after Mrs Beckham suggested that an autograph of footballer David Beckham was not genuine.

Mrs Beckham, also known as Posh Spice, has agreed to pay the claimants' legal costs and to give the shop official merchandise signed by her husband.

Her counsel, Justin Rushbrooke, told the High Court's Mr Justice Gray that she apologised for the "hurt and damage" she had caused shop owners Tim and Glynis McManus, and their son Anthony.

"Mrs Beckham happily accepts that the McManuses are honest and reputable traders and seek to obtain their memorabilia from respected sources," he said.

He also used the High Court statement to deny press reports at the time that Mrs Beckham was rude when she pointed out her concerns about the autograph.

Official gift

Solicitor for the shop owners, Michael Skrein said the apology was appreciated by the McManus family.

They are responsible traders and do everything they can to ensure that the goods they sell in their shop are authentic
Michael Skrein
claimants' solicitor
"The good natured approach which has enabled settlement to be reached is underscored by the fact that Mrs Beckham will be providing the McManuses with a set of official merchandise which her husband has signed," he said.

Their solicitor also accepted that Mrs Beckham was not rude when she made the allegation.

Mr Skrein said that Mrs Beckham went to the autograph and memorabilia shop at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in March 2001.

"When Mrs Beckham entered the shop, there was a picture of David Beckham in a display cabinet at the entrance, and it was autographed by Mr Beckham," he said.

"Mrs Beckham's attention was drawn to the autograph.

"She thought that it was not genuine, and said so in the shop."

Absent spice

He said that unfortunately reports of the visit appeared in national and local newspapers which upset the McManus family and affected business.

"The McManuses are honest and reputable traders, with pride in the business they run," said Mr Skrein.

"The McManuses had obtained the autographed photograph of David Beckham from someone they believed to be a reputable dealer and they firmly believe, as they always have, that the autograph of Mr Beckham is genuine.

"The claimants had no choice but to institute these proceedings for slander. They were determined to vindicate their reputations."

Mrs Beckham was not in court on Tuesday for the resolution of the case.

The BBC's Navdip Dhariwal
"It's the case that cost the former Spice Girl 55,000"

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