Damages for Little Britain star

Little Britain star Matt Lucas has obtained substantial undisclosed damages and an apology over a "grossly intrusive" Daily Mail article in the wake of his ex-partner's death.

The actor's lawyers, Schillings, said today he had sued for invasion of privacy over an article which appeared in March this year - five months after the suicide of Kevin McGee, whom he married in a civil

partnership in December 2006 and divorced just over two years later.

The story, How Matt Lucas Learnt to Laugh Again, constituted an unlawful intrusion into his grief and suffering and an invasion of his privacy, said the firm.

It was particularly damaging because it contained a number of untrue allegations, including the complete fabrications that Lucas had ignored Mr McGee's calls, had become a virtual recluse and was hosting a large birthday party to "move on".

Solicitor John Kelly said the publication, about which Lucas had received no warning, caused him considerable upset and distress.

He added that Associated Newspapers had published an apology, retracted the allegations and agreed to pay substantial damages and the actor's costs.

Lucas said in a statement: "This has been and continues to be a very difficult time for me and all those who loved Kevin.

"My deep pain and sorrow have been made even greater by the intrusive and defamatory stories made about my private life in the Daily Mail.

"I had no choice but to bring these proceedings to protect my private life and my right to grieve in peace.

"I'd like to add that I take no pleasure or sense of triumph in this settlement. I am just relieved that this case has been resolved and I sincerely hope this sort of intrusive reporting will now end."

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