England allrounder Ben Stokes has begun legal proceedings against British tabloid The Sun for publishing a story regarding a tragedy involving his New Zealand-based family. In September this year, a front-page story published by the daily caused a stir that described in detail events leading up to the deaths of Stokes’ family members three decades back.

Stokes and his mother Deborah have hired barrister David Sherborne who will argue the story was a breach of privacy.  In a statement on social media, Stokes had condemned the daily for publishing ‘extremely painful, sensitive and personal details.’

“Today The Sun has seen fit to publish extremely painful, sensitive and personal details concerning events in the private lives of my family, going back more than 31 years. It is hard to find words that adequately describe such low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism,” read his statement on Twitter. “I cannot conceive of anything more immoral, heartless or contemptuous to the feelings and circumstances of my family.”

The Sun had defended its coverage saying the story was told with the cooperation of a family member. “The Sun has the utmost sympathy for Ben Stokes and his mother but it is only right to point out the story was told with the cooperation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures. The tragedy is also a matter of public record and was the subject of extensive front-page publicity in New Zealand at the time. The Sun has huge admiration for Ben Stokes and we were delighted to celebrate his sporting heroics this summer. He was contacted prior to publication and at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story,” The Guardian reported a statement from The Sun.