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Saturday 3 December 2016

JK Rowling vindicated over paper's 'sob story' claim

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JK Rowling
JK Rowling

Author JK Rowling has been "fully vindicated and her reputation restored" following a newspaper's apology for alleging that she wrote a "sob story" containing false claims about her time as a single mother, the High Court in London has heard.

A judge was told that the publisher of the Daily Mail has accepted the allegations were "completely false and indefensible" and published an apology.

Associated Newspapers Ltd has also agreed to pay the creator of Harry Potter substantial damages, which she is donating to charity, and to contribute to her legal costs.

Solicitor-advocate Keith Schilling read out a two-page statement saying the paper's allegations left the author "distressed", but she was now happy to bring her libel proceedings to a close.

On September 18, 2013, Rowling wrote an article for the website of Gingerbread, the single parents' charity, on her own experience as a single mother in Edinburgh while writing the first of the Harry Potter books.

She described only one instance where a visitor stigmatised her when she was working at a church.

Mr Schilling said at no point did Rowling criticise or complain about her treatment at the hands of fellow churchgoers, and spoke about her time working at the church "with immense gratitude".

confused

Ten days after her article, on September 28, the Daily Mail published a two-page story with the headline: "How JK Rowling's sob story about her single mother past surprised and confused the church members who cared for her."

Mr Schilling said the article alleged Rowling "had given a knowingly false account" and "falsely and inexcusably accused her fellow churchgoers of behaving in a bigoted, un-Christian manner towards her, of stigmatising her and cruelly taunting her for being a single mother".

In December 2013, libel proceedings were launched and the following month the publisher accepted the allegations "were completely false and indefensible".

"The claimant now considers that she has been fully vindicated," Mr Schilling said.

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