The Blairs’ former lifestyle adviser Carole Caplin has accepted substantial libel damages from Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers on the same day she claimed to be a victim of phone-hacking at the News of the World.
Caplin, 49, sued the Daily Mail over a September 2010 article headlined: “Carole’s £1m question: Will she tell all about the Blairs’ sex secrets?”.
The article said that Caplin was planning to reveal intimate details about Tony and Cherie Blair’s relationship in a new book for a ‘substantial sum”, and that it might ‘lift the lid on their marriage and finish the Blairs”.
The settlement comes a week after the paper published an apology accepting that ‘Ms Caplin would not disclose such matters and that there was nothing improper about massages she gave Mr Blair”.
In a statement issued following today’s hearing at the High Court Caplin said: ‘Over the past 17 years I have endured, without comment, a succession of articles full of hurtful innuendo, wild imaginings and totally groundless allegations. However I felt I had to take action over this particular Daily Mail invention.
‘That I would break the trust that clients have the right to expect from me, for financial reward, is offensive, damaging and wrong. I am satisfied that this falsehood, along with others contained in the Mail article, has been formally recognised in the High Court this morning.
‘I sincerely hope this will be the last defamation action I shall ever be compelled to bring.”
Caplin also claimed she had recently been notified by officers from Scotland Yard’s phone-hacking unit, Operation Weeting, that her mobile phone messages were hacked by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire while he was working for The News of The World.
A statement released by the PR agency Bell Yard said: “Dating from 2002, Ms Caplin’s is one of the earliest cases so far discovered and the police investigation has yet to uncover all the available evidence. Once she is able to establish the extent of this invasion of her privacy, Ms Caplin will decide what further action to take.”
In June the Daily Mail failed in its bid to strike out the libel case. Her solicitor-advocate, David Price QC, told the court that the article had portrayed her as “some sort of sexpot or randy masseuse”, and a “Svengali or Rasputin type figure” in the marriage of Tony and Cherie Blair.
In April she demanded damages over the story.