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Monday, 22 May, 2000, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Everest explorer wins libel damages
Everest peak
Michael Trueman reached the top of Everest in 1999
The Mount Everest expedition leader, Michael Trueman, has accepted substantial, undisclosed libel damages over allegations that he was a "wild, unkempt and slovenly drunkard".

The former Army officer has also received a public apology at the High Court in London and his legal costs from the publishing firm Cassell plc.

As a member of Mal Duff's Everest expedition in May 1996, Mr Trueman helped co-ordinate the mountain rescue of those stranded following a storm that killed eight climbers.

Cassell plc published a book last November in which it was claimed Mr Trueman had failed to conduct himself responsibly and professionally while a member of the trip.

'Deeply regretted'

Roy Furness, solicitor for the firm, told Mr Justice Eady in court that the allegations, which were included in error, were "wholly unfounded" and "are deeply regretted".

Cambridge-based Mr Trueman owns and is director of a specialist firm that organises mountain trekking and climbing expeditions.

The court heard how he served most of his adult life in the Gurkha Rifles and was also the former commandant of the Army Mountain Training Centre.

His solicitor, Victoria Dare, said he took over the leadership of the Team Ascent Everest Expedition following the death of Mal Duff in 1997.

Two years later the explorer climbed to the top of the Everest. The publishers followed this up with a book entitled Ultimate High, written by Goran Kropp and David Lagercrantz, under the Discovery Books imprint.

Ms Dare said the book alleged Mr Trueman "was a wild, unkempt and slovenly drunkard who had failed to conduct himself responsibly and professionally when a member of Mal Duff's Everest expedition".

Cassell plc "cast grave doubt upon the claimant's ability to conduct himself responsibly, safely and in the manner required of a professional mountaineer and expedition leader", she added.

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