American actress Koo Stark, a former girlfriend of Prince Andrew, won $534,000 in libel damages Friday from a newspaper that falsely implied she had an adulterous affair with the prince after her marriage.
A High Court jury unanimously found that two articles printed in the tabloid Sunday People newspaper on successive weekends in December 1985 had defamed the 32-year-old actress.The jury also awarded Stark undisclosed costs against the newspaper's publisher, Robert Maxwell.
Stark told the jury during the three-day trial that the newspaper had been wrong to allege that she had kept secret dates with the prince or that she maintained a "lingering love" for him after her marriage in August 1984 to Timothy Jeffries, an heir to a multimillion-dollar trading stamp empire.
She testified she met the prince, Queen Elizabeth II's second son, only once after her wedding and on that occasion was accompanied by her husband.
Stark said the allegations implied she was deceiving her husband and having an adulterous affair.
Her lawyer, Desmond Browne, told Judge Michael Davies that articles had been published at a time when Stark was experiencing difficulties in her marriage.
He said Stark had been feeling "wretched" about her marriage and was hoping for a reconciliation. But the "cruelly damaging and wholly untrue" newspaper stories dashed all hope of that, he said.
The couple has since separated but is not divorced.
Her lawyer said the newspaper had used a headline "Secret Dates AFTER She Wed."