The Sun newspaper has paid damages to England cricketer Ben Stokes and his mother after it published a front-page story reporting on a family tragedy.
The 30-year-old criticised the newspaper for publishing “extremely painful, sensitive and personal details” about his family in September 2019, leading to him and his mother Deborah Stokes launching legal action.
On Monday, it was announced they had reached a settlement of their High Court claim against The Sun for breach of privacy.
The publication said: “The article caused great distress to the Stokes family, and especially to Deborah Stokes.
“We should not have published the article. We apologise to Deborah and Ben Stokes. We have agreed to pay them damages and their legal costs.”
The front-page story concerned a family tragedy involving Ms Stokes more than 30 years ago.
Responding to the story at the time, Stokes said the publication of “extremely painful, sensitive and personal details” about his family would have “grave and lifelong consequences” for his loved ones.
In a statement on Twitter, the star all-rounder lambasted The Sun newspaper, which carried the story on its front page on Tuesday, accusing it of being focused on “chasing sales” regardless of the emotional impact on his family.
He wrote: “Today the Sun has seen fit to publish extremely painful, sensitive and personal details concerning events in the private lives of my family, going back more than 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.”
He said a reporter had turned up to his parents’ home in New Zealand “out of the blue” to ask them about the tragedy.
‘Intensely private and painful’
In a statement issued through solicitors firm Brabners, Ms 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.”
The Sun responded that it had contacted Stokes before printing the article and “at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story”.