May 25, 2007
Hollingsworth jury awards £75,000
... but he only gets £50,000 for Daily Mail punch-up libel
The ex-husband of Anne Diamond was awarded £75,000 libel damages by a High Court jury today over a claim in the Daily Mail that he struck the first blow during a drink-fuelled row which ended his affair with DJ Harriet Scott.
However, following a ruling by the trial Judge, Mr Justice Eady, Mr Hollingsworth will receive £25,000 less than the jury’s award because he had originally limited his claim to £50,000. The Daily Mail was ordered to pay the costs.
In a statement following the verdict, the former TV agent and executive Mike Hollingsworth, 61, of Walton Street, Oxford, said: “The Daily Mail published a libel and I asked them to retract and print a correction and I would have been very happy if they had just done that. I wasn’t looking for money.”
“I wasn’t looking for money. I have no regrets on losing the £25,000 from the jury’s award,” he added
The libel was published in a January 2006 interview with Ms Scott in the Daily Mail in January 2006, written by freelance journalist Rebecca Hardy. Ms Scott had claimed that Mr Hollingsworth had struck him first in the row which broke out between the couple during a birthday party at the end of October 1998.
Ronald Thwaites QC, for Mr Hollingsworth, had told the jury at the High Court in London that his client had been “comprehensively beaten up” by Ms Scott, 26 years his junior, before he had slapped her once.
He claimed that Mr Hollingsworth had tried to restrain Miss Scott, who was 26 at the time. When she continued her attack, Mr Hollingsworth tried to stop her by slapping her face, splitting her lip, before driving them both to a police station in Reading.
The newspaper had claimed that Ms Scott’s claims that he had hit her first were true, and called the 32-year-old Heart FM DJ to give evidence in support of its defence. She branded her ex-lover an “utter monster” during her testimony.
Outside the court following the verdict, the Daily Mail said that it “had defended this case because it believed from the outset of this litigation that Harriet Scott was telling the truth, and that she had been assaulted in a unprovoked attack by Mr Hollingsworth. The Daily Mail, of course, accept the jury’s verdict, although we are disappointed by it.”
In a separate statement, Ms Scott said: “I have found the last few days very difficult. I never wanted to be involved in the court proceedings. I have always wished to put the incident on the night in question behind me and, despite the outcome, will be doing exactly that. I have no further comment to make at this time.”