Carling denies media manipulation

It was inevitable that the publicity over Will Carling, his wife Julia and the Princess of Wales would generate some form of litigation. But the trail to the High Court in this particular case has taken an unusual course.

TV presenter Julia Carling is suing Associated Newspapers not over the allegations involving her, her husband and the Princess, but over stories which she claims suggest she planned revenge on her husband by talking to the press and manipulating media interest in her.

She says she has already turned down an offer from Associated Newspapers for a Daily Mail exclusive.

Her action relates to two Daily Mail stories on 16 and 17 October headed 'Will and Diana, Julia and Daniel…and Max' and 'Femail charts the unstoppable rise of the extraordinary Mrs Carling. Hype, Will-power and Julia's meteoric career'.

She claims the pieces were defamatory and would be taken as meaning she had cashed in on the publicity and had been prepared to use the services of PR consultant Max Clifford to further her career and hurt her husband. Clifford specialises in representing those with stories the media might be interested in paying for. His past clients include Antonia de Sancha, Divine Brown, Bienvenida Buck and James Harkess.

Julia Carling claims the allegations have seriously and irreparably damaged her reputation by casting her in the role of jilted wife, and have caused her enormous distress and embarrassment.

The writ in the action includes a copy of a letter to Julia Carling from Ian Monk, executive editor of the Daily Mail, offering her £100,000 for the exclusive story.

When the case gets to court she will seek aggravated and exemplary damages along with an injunction to prevent further publication of the allegations at the centre of her complaint.

She is represented by London firm Stitt & Co.

Last week the paper published a full apology to Julia Carling.