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A London Baker + McKenzie lawyer who was publicly ridiculed after demanding £4 from a secretary to dry clean his trousers has resigned.

The most famous ketchup stain in London has claimed its first victim. Richard Phillips, the City lawyer whose suit was soiled by the misdirected tomato sauce, has resigned from his position, it was announced yesterday.

Mr Phillips, 36, had decided to take a “long-planned” study break from work as the spillage continued to exercise the imaginations of some of the most highly paid professionals in London.

The £150,000-a-year senior associate, who is an IT law expert, is said to be humiliated by the media attention surrounding his claim for recompense for his £4 dry cleaning bill from the much lower paid legal secretary.

Jenny Amner, who is in her fifties, copied her withering e-mail reply to Mr Phillips’ request for payment to colleagues at the leading law firm Baker & McKenzie. Ms Amner, who was attending her mother’s funeral on the day she was contacted by the lawyer, was furious that he had asked for the money.

Colleagues of Ms Amner, who is reported to earn £25,000 a-year, offered to hold a collection to raise the £4 but she declined and paid the sum herself .

Writing to Mr Phillips on 3 June, nine days after the spoilt lunch, she said that she had declined an offer by colleagues to chip in to cover the cleaning bill.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.

One of the authors claiming Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code copied his ideas has admitted he exaggerated his case in an interview with a journalist.