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John and David Furnish accept libel damages over ‘dog attack’ slur

Press Association logoPress Association 21/09/2018 By Jan Colley, Press Association
Sir Elton John and David Furnish accepted libel damages at London’s High Court (Hannah McKay/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Sir Elton John and David Furnish accepted libel damages at London’s High Court (Hannah McKay/PA)

Sir Elton John and David Furnish have accepted “significant” libel damages over a newspaper claim that their dog inflicted “Freddy Krueger-like injuries” on a child at a play date.

The couple, who were not at London’s High Court on Friday, brought proceedings against News Group Newspapers (NGN) over a front page story in The Sun on Sunday in February.

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Their solicitor, Jenny Afia, told Mr Justice Nicklin that the item, captioned “Elton’s Dog Did This To My Girl”, also appeared on the Sun’s website and was picked up by a number of other publishers including the Mail Online, the Metro, the Mirror and the Evening Standard.

Sir Elton John and David Furnish after the Civil Partnership Ceremony to mark the union of Sir Elton John and David Furnish.   (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty Sir Elton John and David Furnish after the Civil Partnership Ceremony to mark the union of Sir Elton John and David Furnish. (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) She said: “The story described an incident at the claimants’ home at which a young child at a play date had been subjected to a serious attack by their dog, which left her with ‘Freddy Krueger-like injuries’ and that, despite being aware of the incident, the claimants failed to make any attempt to find out how the little girl was.

“This allegation is false.

“The truth is that the injuries were not serious, and the claimants, far from ignoring the incident, made several inquiries about the girl’s welfare to her father and nanny.

“Each time it was confirmed the girl was fine.”

Sir Elton John performs on stage.   (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty Sir Elton John performs on stage. (Photo by Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) She added: “I am pleased to say that the newspaper has now accepted unequivocally that this allegation was false and seriously defamatory.

“As a result, it has agreed now to apologise to Sir Elton John and David Furnish, and to pay significant damages as well as to reimburse their legal costs.”

NGN’s solicitor, Jeffrey Smele, said: “The defendant offers its apology to the claimants, and is pleased that the matter has been amicably resolved.”

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