Hamiltons back in libel court to confront accuser

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The Independent Online

Undaunted by their chequered record in the libel courts, Neil and Christine Hamilton were back before the bench yesterday to pursue another high-profile action.

The day after police said they had dropped the inquiry into Nadine Milroy-Sloan's claim that the couple had sexually assaulted herwhile she was raped by another man, they were at an annexe of the High Court to continue their libel case against her. During their slow, 10-minute walk from the main building in the Strand, the Hamiltons were surrounded by press and onlookers.

Any damages the former Tory minister might win from Ms Milroy-Sloan, 28, from Grimsby, are likely to go to Mohamed Al Fayed ­ the victor in one of Mr Hamilton's previous libel cases ­ to whom he still owes more than £1m. But damages paid to Mrs Hamilton would not be affected.

At the end of yesterday's hearing, Mr Justice Aikens said he would announce today whether the Hamiltons could continue to freeze Ms Milroy-Sloan's assets. The couple had previously gained an order allowing them to freeze up to £400,000 until a court had an opportunity to decide whether libel damages should be paid.

During the two-hour hearing, the Hamiltons' barrister urged the judge to continue with the freezing order, while Ms Milroy-Sloan's lawyer asked for him to discharge it. As he left for court yesterday, Mr Hamilton, 52, said: "The reason why I got involved in so many libel actions in previous years... is that I have been wronged by someone else and I am determined the truth be revealed.

"I hope that this will cause people to think back to some of the other allegations that have been made and conclude that they are a pack of lies as well."

Yesterday, the Hamiltons' co-accused, Barry Lehaney, 61, was interviewed for almost four hours by officers at Ilford police station before being bailed to return on 10 October.