McCanns received €149,000 apology
Published 18/12/2011 | 05:00
The News Of The World (NoW) paid £125,000 (€149,000) to the fund supporting the search for Madeleine McCann as part of an apology for publishing Kate McCann's diaries -- on condition that the terms of the deal remained secret.
The payment was made after the missing girl's parents expressed their outrage at the story, which Mrs McCann said made her feel "mentally raped". All the parties involved in the negotiations over the payment, which was agreed in September 2008, were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, hiding the scale of the newspaper's culpability.
The payment was made despite claims by the defunct newspaper's editor at the Leveson Inquiry last week that he believed he had had the full support of the McCanns to publish.
Colin Myler, who edited the 'NoW' from 2007 until it closed earlier this year, told the inquiry he had received repeated assurances from his head of news, Ian Edmondson, that the McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, supported publication -- a claim which has been strenuously denied.
Mr Myler told the inquiry that he subsequently ran an apology and paid a "substantial sum" because "he felt very bad that Mrs McCann didn't know". However, the 'NoW' initially tried to minimise the compensation.
A source at News International, the owner of the newspaper, said there were hours of negotiations between the company's lawyers and Carter-Ruck, the solicitors hired by the McCanns, in the days following publication.
A deal was finally struck in which a £125,000 payment was agreed, but all parties were obliged to sign agreements that they would not talk about the size of the compensation.
Last night, both Kate and Gerry McCann's spokesman and News International declined to comment.
The Leveson Inquiry into the media will hear this week from former 'NoW' sports journalist Matt Driscoll, who was awarded almost £800,000 (€950,000) for unfair dismissal in April 2007 while on sick leave for stress-related depression, following a campaign of bullying provoked by the newspaper's then editor, Andy Coulson.