Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat today accepted £600,000 in libel damages over claims that he was involved in her abduction.
Murat, 34, an Algarve-based property consultant, was at London’s High Court to hear his solicitor, Louis Charalambous, tell Mr Justice Eady that it was now acknowledged that the allegations were entirely untrue.
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Outside court Murat said: “The newspapers in this case brought about the total and utter destruction of mine and my family’s life and caused immense distress.”
“I am pleased that the publications concerned have today admitted the falsity of all their allegations and I can now start to rebuild my life.
“Today’s statement of full apology in open court means I can emerge from this action vindicated and with the recognition and acknowledgement that what was said against me was wholly untrue.
“I also wish to pay tribute to my legal team at Simons Muirhead & Burton, led by Louis Charalambous.
“It is due to their professionalism, dedication and assistance that I am able to be here today.
“I would also like to thank all those who have personally contacted me to offer their support throughout the last year.”
His law firm described the settlement as a record.
Murat, his friend Michaela Walczuch and IT consultant Sergey Malinka, had all brought proceedings against Associated Newspapers, Express Newspapers, MGN Limited and News Group Newspapers over nearly 100 “seriously defamatory” articles.
Charalambous said: “In particular, the defendants accept that none of the claimants had any involvement whatever in the abduction of Madeleine McCann.
“They accept that none of the claimants has any paedophile tendencies or connection with paedophiles or paedophile websites and that none of them lied to the police or obstructed the investigations.
“They accept that Mr Murat’s actions after the abduction were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to help find Madeleine McCann.
“He became a volunteer translator for the Portuguese police and did everything he could to assist the investigation.
“Ms Walczuch was never suspected or accused of any involvement in the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Mr Malinka was not guilty of any sexual misconduct and has no criminal convictions.”
All three had their their legal costs paid for.