Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 12:44 UK

Cole wins 'beating' claim pay-out

Andrew Cole
No charges were ever brought against Andrew Cole

Former England and Manchester United star Andrew Cole has accepted substantial undisclosed damages over a newspaper's claim he beat his wife.

Cole, who plays for Nottingham Forest, sued the Daily Star for stories it ran over his arrest on suspicion of assault at his Cheshire home in February.

He was bailed and released the next day and no further action was taken.

Express Newspapers accepted there was no truth in the allegations, apologised and agreed to pay damages and costs.

'Sensationalist articles'

The striker, who married his long-term girlfriend Shirley Dewar in July 2002 and lives with her in Alderley Edge, was not in court but said in a statement he was happy his name had been cleared.

He said: "I brought this action in order to protect my reputation and the impact on my family caused by the sensationalist articles published by the Daily Star."

Cole's solicitor, Rachel Atkins, told Mr Justice Eady in London that the Daily Star published a front-page article in the most sensational terms, with a further article that day alleging there were strong grounds to suspect that he was guilty of beating his wife.

Ms Atkins said: "Both articles were completely false. There had been no finding. There had been no trial.

The impact on the Cole family caused by the sensationalist articles published by the defendant and the constant press attention made the situation untenable
Rachel Atkins, solicitor

"Simply, at that stage an alleged incident was being investigated and in fact the charges against the claimant were dropped shortly thereafter."

The hearing was told that when the footballer's solicitors informed the newspaper of the true position, it refused to apologise and set the record straight - it simply "apologised" for its sensational language without liaising with the footballer.

"The impact on the Cole family caused by the sensationalist articles published by the defendant and the constant press attention made the situation untenable.

"And the claimant had no option but to clear his name by approaching this court," Ms Atkins said.

No alternative

"Faced with the refusal by the defendant to apologise - after numerous requests - and the fact that he knew that the allegations were completely false and without any foundation, the claimant felt he had no option but to issue proceedings for defamation."

Ms Atkins said Express Newspapers now accepted that there was no truth in the allegations, apologised and had agreed to pay Cole substantial damages and his legal costs.

The newspaper's counsel, Kate Wilson, offered its apologies.

At his peak, Cole played for Newcastle United, Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.

As a striker he scored nearly 200 goals in successful spells with Newcastle and Manchester United between 1995 and 2001.

He has also played for Manchester City, Portsmouth, Burnley, Birmingham City and Sunderland.




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