X Factor judge Louis Walsh has said he will “never get over” The Sun's defamatory story that he sexually assaulted a man as he settled a lawsuit for £400,000.
The music promoter, falsely accused of groping a reveller in the toilet of a Dublin nightclub, said he would not wish what happened to him on his very worst enemy.
The out-of-court deal was reached after Walsh sued Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers over the 2011 story with the headline “Louis Probed Over ‘Sex Attack' on Man in Loo”.
“I'll never get over it,” he said. “Nothing can ever compensate me for the damage done to my reputation by The Sun and the trauma it caused me.”
Unemployed dance teacher Leonard Watters was jailed for six months in July for wrongly accusing Walsh of groping him in a celebrity nightclub after a Westlife concert in April 2011.
Walsh said he could not have got through the case without his barrister Gavin Bonnar and Belfast solicitor Paul Tweed. Mr Tweed said: “Although the person who fabricated the story has since been convicted in the criminal courts, this is a prime example of the serious damage inflicted on an individual, whether they are well-known or not, by the publication of totally unfounded allegations which, in the age of the internet, can circumnavigate the globe in a matter of seconds.”
Eoin McCullough, senior counsel for News Group Newspapers, read a statement to the court apologising to Walsh.