Cherie Blair’s lifestyle guru awarded ‘substantial damages’ in hacking claim
A lifestyle consultant who worked for former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie has accepted "substantial" libel damages from a national newspaper, a High Court judge was told today.
Mr Justice Eady heard that Carole Caplin, 49, had sued after the Daily Mail published an article headed "Carole's £1m question: Will she tell all about the Blairs' sex secrets?" in September 2010.
After the hearing in London, Ms Caplin, who runs a firm called Cool Health, said she felt that she had to "take action" against the newspaper's publishers, Associated Newspapers.
David Price QC, for Ms Caplin, told the court that the article alleged that Ms Caplin may have been about to reveal intimate details about the Blairs in a book. He said she had never had any intention of disclosing any confidential information about the couple.
"The article alleged that Ms Caplin may be about to reveal intimate details about her former clients Tony and Cherie Blair in a book," Mr Price told the court in a statement.
"It was claimed that Ms Caplin had insisted that Mrs Blair tell her every last detail of their sex life and that publication of these revelations would blow the lid on the Blairs' marriage and finish them.
"The article also suggested that Ms Caplin had financial difficulties and that she would receive significant financial reward for her book."
Mr Price added: "The truth is that, contrary to the article, Ms Caplin never had any intention of disclosing any confidential information concerning the Blairs.
"She has consistently and unequivocally stated this over a number of years.
"In any event, Ms Caplin does not possess any sex secrets or other information that could 'finish' them.
"She did not insist that Mrs Blair tell her every last detail of her sex life or discuss such matters with her.
"Ms Caplin is not in any financial difficulties."
Mr Price said the article "may also have been understood" to mean that "massages given by Ms Caplin to Mr Blair" were "in some way improper".
He said there was no basis for such an allegation and added: "The defendant has stated that it did not intend to convey such an impression and has apologised if this was the case."
Mr Price said Ms Caplin had been "extremely upset and distressed" by the article and he added: "Despite her unequivocal stance that she would never publish confidential information about the Blairs, the media has continued to suggest that she may do so.
"She was not prepared to allow this article to remain unchallenged and brought this claim for libel in order to obtain public vindication and prevent further unfounded speculation."
He said Associated Newspapers had made an "offer of amends" and the offer had been accepted by Ms Caplin, who was at the hearing.
Mr Price told the judge that an apology had been published in the Daily Mail and Associated Newspapers had agreed to pay Ms Caplin a "substantial sum in damages to be assessed if not agreed" and her legal costs.
Outside court, Ms 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 (article).
"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."
She added: "I sincerely hope this will be the last defamation action I shall ever be compelled to bring."