The Sun has issued an apology and paid substantial damages to Ben Stokes and his mother, Deborah, after running a front-page story detailing an upsetting family tragedy.
Deborah Stokes said they took legal action over the September 2019 article headlined “tragedy that haunts Stokes’ family” to ensure others did not have to endure similar stories.
The tabloid also agreed to pay their legal costs and issued a public statement saying the story, about an incident that took place before the cricketer was born, should never have been published.
“Painful, sensitive and personal”
Shortly after the tabloid ran the story, Ben Stokes hit back in a statement that hit out at the paper for its “low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism.”
He said at the time: “Today The Sun has seen fit to publish extremely painful, sensitive and personal details about events in the private lives of my family going back 31 years.
“It is hard to find words that adequately describe such low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism.
“I cannot conceive of anything more immoral, heartless or contemptuous to the feelings and circumstances of my family.
“For more than three decades, my family has worked hard to deal with the private trauma inevitably associated with these events and has taken great care to keep private what were deeply personal and traumatic events.
“On Saturday, The Sun sent a ‘reporter’ to my parents’ home in New Zealand to question them, out of the blue, on this incredibly upsetting topic.
“If that wasn’t bad enough, The Sun think it is acceptable to sensationalise our personal tragedy for their front page.
“To use my name as an excuse to shatter the privacy and private lives of – in particular – my parents, is utterly disgusting.”
“Profit from exposing private matters”
Speaking after the legal case drew to a close, Deborah Stokes said: “The decision to publish this article was a decision to expose, and to profit from exposing, intensely private and painful matters within our family. The suffering caused to our family by the publication of this article is something we cannot forgive.
“Ben and I can take no pleasure in concluding this settlement with the Sun. We can only hope that our actions in holding the paper to account will leave a lasting mark, and one that will contribute to prevent other families from having to suffer the same pain as was inflicted on our family by this article.”