A chromium-plated heap of mother love v Daily Mirror, and other cases

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THERE are few cases in the High Court to match the mudslinging of a libel action and, with defamation virtually the preserve of the rich or famous, few cases can match libel for the celebrity factor. Some of the best clashes in the past 40 years included:

Liberace v The Daily Mirror (1959)

The late pianist took on The Daily Mirror after the columnist Cassandra wrote a classic piece of invective in a 1956 article when he called Liberace "... this deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent- impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love ..."

Liberace took umbrage and pounds 14,000 plus costs, coining the phrase "I cried all the way to the bank."

Jeffrey Archer v Daily Star (1987)

Jeffrey (now Lord) Archer won pounds 500,000 from the Star over its suggestion that he had sex with a prostitute he had met at Paddington, west London. This was the start of a series of huge payments against newspapers and magazines.

Gillian Taylforth and Geoff Knights v The Sun (1994)

The EastEnders actress lost her action against The Sun, which said she and her husband, Mr Knights, committed an indecent act in their Range Rover at a lay-by.

Ian Botham and Allan Lamb v Imran Khan (1996)

The former England cricketers sued the former Pakistan captain over an article they claimed labelled them as racist, ill-bred and uneducated. They lost and ended up with costs of around pounds 600,000.

Richard Branson v Guy Snowden

The Virgin boss had claimed Mr Snowden of Camelot had tried to bribe him not to compete for the National Lottery licence.

The court heard how during lunch in September 1993 Mr Snowden had told Mr Branson: "I don't know how to phrase this, Richard. There is always a bottom line ... In what way can we help you? I mean, what can I do for you personally? Everybody needs something."

Mr Branson won his libel case with six-figure costs.