New twist in curious affair of the footballer, the model and the High Court judge
If Giggs had not taken out a super-injunction no one would have known about his off-field activities
This time, Imogen Thomas chose not to appear en deshabille. Neither was she pouting or breathlessly revealing whether she and her former lover had explored every inch of each other's bodies. There is to be no kiss and tell.
The Welsh glamour model sat in the High Court yesterday before one of Britain's most po-faced judges, Mr Justice Eady, as her lawyer delivered a statement saying that she had reconciled her differences with the married footballer who – according to a still existing privacy injunction – should be referred to only by the letters "CTB".
That injunction – imposed by Mr Justice Eady himself in April – has become the subject of legal farce. CTB has become known as the Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, and for weeks after the granting of the order, Twitter reverberated with tweets paraphrasing Paul Whitehouse's Ron Manager from the BBC's The Fast Show: "Giggsy isn't it? Mmm, Giggsy-wiggsy?"
The injunction became even more meaningless at the end of May when the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming identified the footballer in the House of Commons using parliamentary privilege.
But even for a Big Brother contestant the story has been damaging. Ms Thomas, 28, was identified in The Sun's original article "Footie Star's Affair with Big Brother's Imogen Thomas" and, in his reasons for granting the injunction, Mr Justice Eady said the footballer's evidence suggested he was being blackmailed. The model became characterised as a ruthless gold-digger.
But Mr Giggs, 38, now acknowledges that Ms Thomas had no intention of blackmailing him and was not trying to sell her story. In a statement, she said: "To suddenly have to defend my character, because of this legal process, has been extremely upsetting and stressful. I'm just relieved the parties and the court now accept that I'm no blackmailer. I have been vindicated and that's all I wanted." Ms Thomas has been an inveterate publicity-seeker and admitted this week: "I used to crave the press attention and played the media to my advantage, creating lots of opportunities for myself within TV and modelling."
But in court yesterday, her lawyer David Price, QC, made an open statement on behalf of his client in which he said it was never the model's intention for the affair to be made public.
"The Sun has now made it clear that Ms Thomas was not responsible for the article," he said. "CTB accepts this and also accepts that Ms Thomas did not wish any private information to be published." He said it "remains her position" that she would not talk about her relationship with Mr Giggs. It is believed to be a legal first for a defendant, rather than a claimant, to be given the opportunity to make an open statement in court about such a case.
Mr Justice Eady told the court he could see little remaining value in the gagging order, though it remains in place. The Sun, the co-defendant in the injunction, appears to have no prospect of persuading Ms Thomas to talk.
It is understood the defunct News of the World had taken photographs of Ms Thomas leaving various hotels early this year, when The Sun became aware of the story and challenged the couple. Mr Giggs was told that Ms Thomas had engaged the services of Max Clifford and, fearing a kiss-and-tell exposé, instructed media lawyer Schillings, which sought an injunction.
But Mr Price told the court that his client "had retained Max Clifford to try to prevent a story coming out". The PR man confirmed this and claimed The Sun did not have sufficient information to identify the footballer. "If Ryan Giggs hadn't taken out a super-injunction no one would know about his off-the-field activities," he said.
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