Formula One boss Max Mosley on Thursday won his privacy action against the News of the World.
The newspaper, which had accused the 68-year-old son of the 1930s Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley of taking part in a “sick Nazi orgy” with five prostitutes, must now pay him a record £60,000 compensation.
Mr Justice Eady did not make an additional award – which would have been unprecedented in invasion of privacy cases – of punitive exemplary damages.
Mr Mosley, president of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), did not dispute taking part in the sadomasochistic roleplay at a rented Chelsea basement flat, but said it was consensual and private, with no Nazi overtones.
He said his life was devastated by the March expose and by the newspaper putting secretly-filmed footage of what it called a “truly grotesque and depraved” event on its website, attracting at least 3.5 million hits at the last count.
James Price QC told London’s High Court that the “gross and indefensible intrusion” by the tabloid in its role as a titillating Peeping Tom was made substantially worse by the false suggestion that Mr Mosley was playing a concentration camp commandant and a cowering death camp inmate.
The newspaper’s editor, Colin Myler, said he believed the story was one of “legitimate public interest and one that I believe was legitimately published” and that it was “absolutely not true” that the newspaper had fabricated the Nazi aspect.
Mr Mosley was in court but showed no emotion at the ruling.