Prince Andrew's ex-girlfriend Koo Stark wins libel damages over Daily Mail's 'porn star' reference

An ex-girlfriend of Prince Andrew will get "substantial damages" over a news story that wrongly referred to her as a "porn star".

Koo Stark, 66, sued the Daily Mail's publisher Associated Newspapers, as well as the paper's former editor and deputy editor, Geordie Greig and Gerard Greaves.

Ms Stark, a US photographer, went out with the prince in the 1980s and has worked as a professional actress.

The November 2019 story referred to Prince Andrew as a "Duke of Hazard" with "very shady friends".

A photo of Ms Stark accompanying the article showed her in the film The Awakening Of Emily and was captioned "The prince and the porn star".

It also referred to the prince having had "an astonishing relationship with a soft porn actress".

Ms Stark's lawyer, Francis Leonard, said the words suggested she was a "porn actress who has made her living participating in films which are made for distribution in the pornographic market".

"The true position is that Ms Stark has never appeared in a pornographic film or posed for pornographic photographs," said the lawyer.

"None of her work could properly be described as pornographic or indeed as 'very shady'.

"In particular, the film The Awakening Of Emily is a coming-of-age drama and not a pornographic film."

The story was also published on the MailOnline website but amended nine hours later to correct the reference to Ms Stark. All references to her were removed in 2021.

Ms Stark suffered "very considerable distress and upset" over the statements and the Mail's publisher has agreed to pay "substantial damages", her lawyer told London's High Court.

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Gemma McNeil-Walsh, lawyer for Associated Newspapers and the paper's two editors, said: "The defendant through me offers its sincere apologies to the claimant for the distress, embarrassment and upset caused to her by the publication of the Daily Mail article.

"The defendant accepts there was and is no truth in the allegation advanced about the claimant and is happy to set the record straight."

Judge Mrs Justice Collins Rice told the court: "Ms Stark is entitled to consider herself, and be considered as, fully vindicated."

An apology was also published in Friday's Daily Mail newspaper.