A man who allegedly plotted to kidnap ex-SPICE GIRL Victoria Beckham lost a libel claim against two newspapers yesterday (03MAY05) because he sued under a false name, gave no evidence and left the country before the case started.

Romanian ALIN TURCU, real name BOGDAN MARIS, sued the NEWS OF THE WORLD and The Sun in November 2002, claiming the publications had libelled him by printing an undercover story claiming a News of the World journalist had foiled a plot by an international gang to kidnap Victoria and her two sons.

He claimed he was identified by photographs and his false name in both articles, which also reported he intended to kill Victoria unless her soccer star husband DAVID paid a $9.5 million (GBP5 million) ransom demand.

But a London high court judge threw out the libel claim, because Turcu had left the UK to escape a deportation claim, and his solicitor David Price was unable to contact Turcu to get a witness statement detailing his side of the story.

The court has ordered Turcu to pay the newspapers' legal costs of $760,000 (GBP400,000) with $190,000 (GBP100,000) to be paid within 28 days.

05/05/2005 03:05