Aerial libel costs £22,500

Millionaire ordered to pay damages a second time for libelling former mayor

A High Court jury today awarded a former Mayor of Castlepoint in Essex £22,500 libel damages after a local businessman distributed leaflets from a plane falsely claiming that she was a shoplifter.

The Claimant, Jennifer Howlett, had sued Terry Holding, a salvage boss, over what she characterised as a vendetta conducted by the Defendant against her by dropping leaflets containing the slurs from a light aircraft.

Mr Holding accepted during the five-day libel trial that he had subjected Mrs Howlett to “five years of living hell”, but insisted that it was balanced by the trouble she had caused him.

Mrs Howlett had successfully sued Mr Holding in October 2003 over similar allegations and had been awarded £65,000 by an earlier jury. However, shortly after the end of the first trial, the leafleting campaign started again.

5RB‘s Adrienne Page QC (instructed by Carter-Ruck) was leading counsel for Mrs Howlett.