Jenifer Howlett has been awarded £65,000 in libel damages, in addition to an injunction, against millionaire scrap car dealer Terry Holding and his company, Holding & Barnes PLC. Between 1995 and 2003 Mrs Howlett was a Councillor on Castle Point Borough Council in Essex and served as Mayor in 1995/1996.
Former Mayor in Aeroplane Libel Victory
24 October 2003
A High Court Jury has today awarded Mrs Jenifer Howlett £65,000 in libel damages against millionaire scrap car dealer Terry Holding and his company, Holding & Barnes PLC.
Mrs Howlett – who between 1995 and 2003 was a Councillor on Castle Point Borough Council in Essex and served as Mayor in 1995/1996 – brought proceedings after Mr Holding, over a period of several years, trailed numerous banners behind his private aircraft making the wholly untruthful allegation that Mrs Howlett was a thief and was unfit to hold public office. In addition to flying these banners, Mr Holding made similar allegations in letters which he sent to local Councillors and newspapers. Then, at the time of the local elections held earlier this year, he flew yet further banners and caused thousands of offensive leaflets to be dropped indiscriminately out of his aircraft.
As the Jury’s verdict makes clear, the allegations made by Mr Holding and his company regarding Mrs Howlett were completely untrue.
Speaking after the verdict, Mrs Howlett said that she was very pleased that the Jury had accepted that the allegations against her were false and that Mr Holding and his company would not be permitted to repeat them. Mrs Howlett said she believed that Mr Holding had mounted the campaign in order to punish her for daring to oppose a planning application he had made and to hound her from office. He was described in court as a vindictive bully and a coward who, having goaded her into bringing the proceedings, did not then even have the courage to give evidence at trial.
Above all, however, Mrs Howlett said she and her family were hugely relieved that the “living hell” to which Mr Holding had subjected her was now at an end, and that her hard-earned reputation in the community where she has lived – and which she has served – for over 30 years had been restored. The family could now try to put the past three years behind them and get on with their lives.
Mrs Howlett’s case was conducted under Carter-Ruck’s Conditional Fee Agreement scheme.