Murat receives £600,000 libel damages

Madeleine McCann suspect Robert Murat today accepted £600,000 in libel damages over claims that he was involved in her abduction.

Mr Murat, 34, an Algarve-based property consultant, was at London's High Court to hear his solicitor, Louis Charalambous, tell Mr Justice Eady that it was now acknowledged that the allegations were entirely untrue.

Outside court Mr Murat said: "The newspapers in this case brought about the total and utter destruction of mine and my family's life and caused immense distress."

His law firm described the settlement as a record.

Mr Murat, his friend Michaela Walczuch and IT consultant Sergey Malinka had all brought proceedings against Associated Newspapers, Express Newspapers, MGN Limited and News Group Newspapers over nearly 100 "seriously defamatory" articles.

Mr Charalambous said: "In particular, the defendants accept that none of the claimants had any involvement whatever in the abduction of Madeleine McCann.

"They accept that none of the claimants has any paedophile tendencies or connection with paedophiles or paedophile websites and that none of them lied to the police or obstructed the investigations.

"They accept that Mr Murat's actions after the abduction were entirely proper and were motivated by a desire to help find Madeleine McCann.

"He became a volunteer translator for the Portuguese police and did everything he could to assist the investigation.

"Ms Walczuch was never suspected or accused of any involvement in the abduction of Madeleine McCann. Mr Malinka was not guilty of any sexual misconduct and has no criminal convictions."

As well as the "very substantial" all three had their their legal costs paid for.