FORMER Michael Jackson bodyguard Matt Fiddes has dropped his legal action against Channel 4. A libel trial surrounding the documentary The Jacksons Are Coming, was to have started at London s High Court today (Monday); but on the eve of the proceedings Mr

FORMER Michael Jackson bodyguard Matt Fiddes has dropped his legal action against Channel 4.

A libel trial surrounding the documentary The Jacksons Are Coming, was to have started at London’s High Court on Monday; but on the eve of the proceedings Mr Fiddes, from Barnstaple, decided to drop the allegations that elements of the programme were faked.

In turn, Channel 4, production company Studio Lambert and film-maker Jane Preston accepted that Mr Fiddes had not leaked stories about the Jackson family to the press while they were in Appledore filming the 2008 Cutting Edge documentary.

In a statement to the Gazette, Mr Fiddes, who owns a chain of martial arts schools, said: “The litigation has been a strain and I can now return to normal life. My prime concern is to care for my mother who has terminal cancer. I would rather spend precious time with her, my family and running my business than go through a 20-day trial.”

Channel 4 is understood to have spent £1.7million defending the programme, while Mr Fiddes’ costs currently stand at around £1.3m. Both sides are understood to be meeting their own costs.

Julian Bellamy, head of Channel 4, said: “Channel 4 is delighted that this unmeritorious claim has been discontinued.

“The claim was flawed from the outset and it is a damning indictment of the current libel system in the UK that the claimant has been allowed to tie up the court’s valuable time and the defendants’ resources for so long.”

Stephen Lambert, chief executive of Studio Lambert and Jane Preston said: “We are delighted that, after nearly two years of fighting this libel case, these false allegations against us have been withdrawn and our reputations have been vindicated.”