Gossip lands Dempster in hot water

A wealthy aristocrat went to the High Court yesterday in a bid to have gossip columnist Nigel Dempster jailed for allegedly repeating a libellous claim that he failed to make proper financial provision for his ex-wife.

Baron Steven Bentinck is also seeking to sequester the assets of Associated Newspapers, the publishers of the Daily Mail. He brought contempt proceedings against them over an item which appeared in the newspaper in August which, he claimed, meant he was extremely mean towards his wife Nora (above) at the end of their nine-year marriage. His counsel denied this, saying the baron had made substantial provision for his former wife.

Andrew Caldecott QC, for the newspaper, argued that no breach of its undertaking had occurred. The judge said he would give his ruling on Monday.