riends of Kate and Gerry McCann have arrived at the High Court to receive 375,000 in newspaper damages.

Kate and Gerry McCann friends arrive at High Court

 

The Express Newspapers group will pay out the huge sum after falsely claiming the so-called 'Tapas 7' misled the Madeleine investigation.

It has also apologised to the friends, who were eating with the couple in a nearby restaurant on the night the girl disappeared.

The seven are couples Jane Tanner and Russell O'Brien, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne's mother, Dianne Webster.

They are expected to donate the money to the Find Madeleine fund.

The friends were on holiday with the McCanns in Praia da Luz, Portugal, last May, when Madeleine disappeared, just days before her fourth birthday.

The nickname for the group came from the restaurant where all nine adults were dining when Madeleine went missing from her family's holiday apartment nearby.

Sky's Crime correspondent Martin Brunt said: "This is the third time this year newspapers have agreed a settlement.

"The first was against Express Newspapers - they were forced to pay out just over ?500,000 to Kate and Gerry McCann for more than 100 defamatory articles.

"In July, a number of newspaper groups were involved in an even bigger payout - around 600,000 - to Robert Murat, the first suspect in the case, who was subsequently cleared of suspicion by the Portuguese authorities."