Freddie Starr loses libel case against woman who claimed he groped her in Saville's dressing room

His legal costs are now reported to exceed £1m

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The Independent Online

Freddie Starr has lost his defamation case against a woman who claimed she was groped by the comedian when she was 15.

Karin Ward, 56, alleges that she was assaulted by Starr when she was invited to watch the filming of Jimmy Saville’s show Clink Clunk in 1974.

Visiting backstage afterwards, she claims she was assaulted by Starr and that he called her a 't**less wonder' in front of people, humiliating her.

Starr denied the claims and sought damages for alleged slander and libel, claiming he lost £300,000 from work being cancelled over the allegations.

He also sued over interviews Ward gave to the BBC and ITV. It is estimated he is now facing legal fees of around £1m.

Though he was not present for the ruling, last month Starr told London’s high court that he did even recall appearing on Saville’s show, having only met him once or twice, although he was later shown footage recorded from the show which showed he was present.

Speaking after the ruling, Ms Ward spoke of her relief at the outcome and encouraged people in similar circumstances to come forward and not feel ashamed.

“For anyone who hasn’t yet dared to come forward, I say – do not take this case as a reason not to do so. Stand tall, it wasn’t your fault, and you have a right to be heard without fear or threat of not being believed.

“You may have had no voice and no choice when you were younger, but now you do. Don’t give in to bullies.”

Starr was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, but was not charged with any offense.