Nail wins £30,000 for libel but faces £200,000 costs

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The actor Jimmy Nail won damages of £30,000 yesterday over false claims about his sex life and alleged greed and prima donna behaviour.

However Mr Nail, a star of the television series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, faces a costs bill of about £200,000 because he refused an offer totalling £37,500 to settle the case last year.

He was not at the High Court for the hearing but he was said to be "very happy" with the result of his libel action against News Group Newspapers and HarperCollins Publishers.

Mr Nail, 50, sued over an article in the News Of The World in May 2002, and a 1998 biography of him, called Nailed, by Geraint Jones. In both cases, unqualified offers of amends were made and accepted, involving apologies which admitted the material was defamatory and untrue. Mr Justice Eady ruled that Mr Nail should be paid £22,500 by News Group and £7,500 by HarperCollins. The actor had requested between £70,000 and £100,000. The overlapping allegations were that Mr Nail had engaged in depraved sexual behaviour, used his ownership of the leather jacket of the original Oz character in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet to secure money for himself, and behaved like a prima donna.

Adrienne Paige QC, for the defendants, expressed their "complete acceptance" that the allegations were untrue, and their sincere apologies.