'Substantial' libel damages paid to former boyfriend of sex blogger Belle de Jour

Times Newspapers Ltd accepted allegations of threats by Flight Lieutenant Owen Morris were incorrect

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The Independent Online

The former boyfriend of sex blogger Belle de Jour has accepted substantial libel damages over a claim that he threatened her.

Flight Lieutenant Owen Morris, who served with the RAF between 2005 and 2011, was author Brooke Magnanti's partner for a number of years from 2001.

Ms Magnanti gained fame as Belle de Jour, chronicling her activities while working as a call girl. Her real identity was not known to the general public until November 2009 when she disclosed it via an interview in the Sunday Times.

In further articles in March and November 2010, a series of highly defamatory and untrue allegations were made about Mr Morris, solicitor Jeffrey Smele told Mr Justice Tugendhat at London's High Court today.

They claimed that, following the end of their relationship, Ms Magnanti obtained a restraining order against Mr Morris, he made threats of violence against her, and threatened to reveal her identity to the media for financial gain.

Mr Smele said the publication caused damage and distress to Mr Morris, and had an obvious negative impact on his personal and professional life and - he believed - his standing in the RAF.

He added that Times Newspapers Ltd accepted that the allegations were incorrect and had published an apology in the newspaper. It also agreed to pay substantial undisclosed damages and Mr Morris's legal costs.