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  1. Apologies for apparently disappearing of the face of the earth. Family things took priority last night (joys of having children with additional needs!) and work has been busy today. Due to time constraints I have today put together and submitted a defence, which will at least prevent the claimant for going for a default judgement. I am just putting the children to bed and will post POC and defence. Thanks for your patience, and again, sorry for appearing ignorant. x
  2. It's one of those things that we never thought we'd need any of that footage to defend anything; it was given to the police to show what we were going through with regards to harassment. I do have most things in the cloud now (all the other evidence for example) but just need to track down that footage. There have been allegations of harassment but with police resources being what they are we have had difficulty getting any action taken unless a more serious act has taken place. The cumulative effect doesn't seem worth the police's time! The original public order offence took place summer 2013. At the time we had one toddler, the weather was lovely, so my wife was spending time in the garden with him while I was at work. Next door neighbour (woman) was smoking cannabis in her garden and the smell was unpleasant, so my wife asked her politely if she would mind not smoking it out there while our child was playing. She received a grunt in response. Later that evening, my older daughter (then 15) was sat in the garden with me, and complained that the smell was making her sick, so we went inside. I'd had enough of the smell - it's always been an issue for us - so called the police to report it. The police attended, and we heard no more from them on what happened with that report. Shortly after the police visit, the woman came out to the fence and was ranting and raving, swearing, etc. We didn't respond. It carried on late into the night, with the abuse becoming more vile. My wife placed her phone near the back door to record it. We called the police back. The abuse carried on in the following days, loud music playing, songs like Chubby Brown's "You Fat Barsteward". Shouting things about our son and that he needed a father (he was conceived in our marriage, as were the twins, using a donor, not that that's anyone's business) and that they should start a campaign to get him taken away from us, etc. Anyway, the outcome of that, with the recorded audio evidence, was that the woman pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay costs and compensation. Section 5 public order offence I think it was. There have been lots of smaller things over the years. The police attended our home because they'd accused us of hanging a windchime (yes, really), their complaint being that the bracket had been drilled into their property. The bracket in question was attached when I bought the house, so all I'd done was stick a windchime on it. When the police didn't take them seriously, they had a solicitor send us a letter saying that unless we removed said bracket and made good the damage (which we didn't do) then they would remove it themselves. The windchime is a sensory thing for our autistic son. Cue criminal damage fixed penalty when they removed part of the fence to rip out the bracket, smash the windchime, and rip up a self-supported climbing plant from our property, causing massive distress to my wife and our son. She has all of that on video. They have complained to the council about loud music, with times and dates. On at least one of those dates/times I was working from home and attending a videoconference from my living room on the laptop, with proof, so another ridiculous, vexatious allegation. It seems that they have been looking all this time for something, anything that they can get us on. They have accused me of scratching their cars, and she has recently posted a blurry CCTV image of what may or may not be me, walking past the car. In her post she named me, referred to me as wife of the incredible hulk, saying that now they have me on CCTV scratching the car. Absolutely untrue. Once again, the village up in arms about what horrible people we are. Whose reputation is suffering here? Sorry, I'm becoming emotional now. The comments on her most recent post were absolutely vile. One of their friends saying that they should sew my wife's vagina shut while she sleeps; that they should send us round to him for some 100% British beef, none of your carpet-munching nonsense. I feel sick.
  3. We do have pictures of the fence, both before and after, and will measure the gaps later. I am in the process of getting together all of the evidence, and am working through writing the initial defence. Once that's in, I know that he will then have to make a decision on whether to proceed. The objective at this stage is to show that the evidence we have has merit to support a truth defence in the hope that he will drop the action. The campaign of terror evidence I suppose is supplementary?
  4. I'm sure I have a copy of the CCTV footage somewhere on a laptop, just trying to find it! The man is the complainant. He has caused very few problems in the past, but it was he who we saw watching from the window and about whom my wife posted. Unfortunately in anger she included his name and a picture. It is the complainant on the CCTV footage watching another neighbour over the wall. I believe my wife snapped a picture of him watching through the fence as he came out to his garden, though he could argue that his eyes were just pointing that way (!) If the gap hadn't been enlarged, he wouldn't have had such a clear view! The woman, his partner, is the one who has caused the majority of the trouble. Her original conviction included a homophobic element so was considered a hate crime. Their friends, when commenting on anything that she has posted about us, make regular, vile homophobic comments about us. The post which has given cause to the claim was the first thing in all of that time that my wife had posted about either of them, and it was a truthful statement, made in anger, with none of the intent or innuendo implied in the POC. I have never posted anything about them, naming them, and my Facebook profile is about as private as I can make it. The woman (complainant's partner) has posted lots of horrible things about both of us, naming us, with pictures, inciting what feels like an entire village on the attack. We have screenshots of all of it that we've seen. ETA for clarity - My wife's FB statement was made about the man, the complainant, as he was the one watching from the window, yet he is the one who has not really caused any major trouble, just made us uncomfortable.
  5. It's a male/female couple. The claimant is a man and his partner is a woman. My wife and I are both women. He is claiming £10k damages/aggravated damages. We do have a letter about the original prosecution of the woman, and the result - she pleaded guilty. We have video evidence of them carrying out the criminal damage. We have photos of the fence before and after. We have photos showing the camera positioned in their window which the police asked them to remove. The whole saga has gone on for over four years. We have screenshots of it all, including the comments made by their friends, which shows that his reputation is fully intact. My wife's on the other hand, is in tatters, as is mine. There will be police records of the other stuff. There is CCTV footage which we have provided to the police on USB which was never returned, showing the complainant standing on a bench peering over at his other next door neighbour. Note that our CCTV camera covers part of the rear of their property in its periphery which is absolutely above board - we have checked!
  6. Just seen the other posts, sorry... I will post up the redacted POC when I get home from work this evening, along with the offending post. The claim has been issued by the Queens Bench, High Court, which I believe is normal for defamation. She e-mailed AOS within the 14 days from service, and the 28 days (14+14) to file the defence is up this Friday. He is claiming £10k damages/aggravated damages. If it didn't need to be defended it would be laughable. I don't believe it's possible to sue for defamation on a no-win-no-fee basis, nor through house insurance, so goodness knows what they're even thinking! They will have had to shell out hard cash to get it this far.
  7. Just to add, I think we have a much stronger defamation case against his partner than he does against my wife, but we just want to be left alone.
  8. Thanks BF for your swift response. I have done lots of reading about defamation, and am also aware that the behaviour of the complainant's partner is largely, if not totally irrelevant in this particular case. The complainant has not previously caused any major trouble. As I mentioned earlier, his partner has been a complete nightmare and is the one who has the convictions (public order offence and criminal damage to our property). During the summer we spent a lot of evenings out in the garden in swimwear in our inflatable pool, with the children. We have a 5 year old who is autistic and strips off at the first opportunity, and 3 year old twins who also aren't too keen on clothes, especially in the pool in the warm weather. We had seen the complainant a number of times watching us. His partner had posted unpleasant things on Facebook about there being a "beached whale in next door's paddling pool" referring to my wife, who is a larger lady, among other unpleasant things. My view has always been to ignore such nonsense. A couple of years ago they were asked by the police, following a complaint from us, to remove a camera from their back bedroom window which appeared to be trained on our back garden. When I've been walking the twins home from nursery, I've seen his partner standing at the front window, arms folded, watching me. They erected a large wooden fence between our back doors which initially had all the boards evenly spaced; those boards have now been repositioned to leave a large gap giving them a view straight into our kitchen if the back door is open. We have seen the complainant peering through the gap as he's made his way into their back yard. We have also seen the complainant standing on a bench looking over his wall at the other side, watching another scantily-clad neighbour as she dozed on her garden furniture. It just makes us a bit uncomfortable. On the evening which prompted the Facebook post, we had been playing in the pool with the children and saw movement in their bedroom window so my wife glanced up. She nudged me to look and we saw the complainant crouched down (presumably to hide from view) apparently watching us. Bear in mind the children were running about starkers, enough was enough. We came inside. My partner made a rather angry statement on Facebook (I will have to post exact wording later) naming him, with a picture, saying something along the lines of being fed up of being watched by him and that we've had to bring the children inside again. No mention was made or implied that he had an "inappropriate" interest in our children, or any other children, or that he was a danger to children, yet his POC state that that's what was implied. It really goes on to embellish the hurt caused, as you would expect. His partner shared the post, and unleashed a torrent of horrific abuse at my wife from what felt like the entire village. This led to vicious personal slurs against us, against our children and so on, people saying really nasty things about us which had nothing to do with the actual post. I had enough and asked my wife to remove it. She received private messages from supporters of the complainant making threats and calling her horrible things. The complainant's partner also sent a private message to one of my wife's Facebook contacts who had commented on the original post threatening her and saying that she has photographs showing we live like tramps. (Is that not in itself defamatory? And why has she got pictures of us?) His partner went on to post pictures of our family that she took from other people's Facebook accounts naming us and generally being nasty. So, to summarise, we did bring the children in because we saw him watching us through the window. We didn't suggest he was a danger to children. There were lots of other parts of the POC which are untrue; for example they state that my wife "tagged" a number of local residents in the original post. That's not true and my wife is able to prove that. They stated that Facebook removed the post following complaints from his supporters. That's also not true, as my wife still has access to the post which she just made private (so only she can see it, but she still has all the comments.) Anyway, we have been stared at and whispered about in the school playground. We are both afraid to walk out of the front door in case they're there. What else do you need? I do understand the law around defamation, including the updated Act, but just wondered what kind of proof my wife can provide to show that we did bring the children in because he was watching. We didn't take a picture of him! But we do have other complementary evidence which tips the balance of probability, possibly. Any thoughts? Thanks
  9. Before I go into the whole long story (and it is long!), does anyone have any experience with defending defamation claims? My wife is being sued by our neighbour for defamation, following a statement she made on Facebook. The statement was made in anger following several years of what can only be described as torture from these people. The complainant's partner has been the main instigator of the trouble we've had and she has been prosecuted and convicted twice, her daughter once, for their behaviour against us. The complainant mostly stays quiet, but it was he who committed the act which prompted the Facebook post. They have made several attempts previously to accuse us via solicitors, police of things which we haven't done, which we have proved, so my feeling is that this claim is just vexatious; an attempt to "get us back". My wife's post was shared by the complainant's partner and the abuse that my wife received following that was horrific, to a point where I asked her to take down the post, which she did. So I think it's safe to say that it hasn't damaged his reputation one single bit. The meaning of the post has been twisted in the particulars of claim. Happy to go into further detail if someone thinks they can help, or give an opinion. The defence is due to be submitted by this Friday, 27th, but I'm not bad at putting things down on paper. I suppose I need someone's opinion on whether he has a chance. My wife has no assets and no income; the house was mine when we met and we have 3 small children together, so not sure how they expect to collect the aggravated damages should they win. Thanks in advance.
  10. Thanks Plodderton. I didn't mean judged by you lot I've asked for help here on a number of occasions for different things and always been met with friendly, helpful replies. I'm going to put my offer to Marstons in an e-mail and follow up with a letter in the post, just in case notes from my phone call haven't been recorded accurately. What would happen with the writ if a variation order was granted? Would Marstons be sent packing and I'd be back to dealing with UU directly? The idea of doing anything with the court gives me chills, which I know is silly.
  11. I'd rather pay UU directly, but I don't know whether applying for a variation would just be more stress and bother. I don't want to feel "judged" for being stupid. I know that I shouldn't have let it get this far, but we can't live by what-ifs. I have no intention of letting the EA into the house, and I believe they don't have the right to force entry. I have nothing of value left outside, and not much inside to be fair. My partner is at home full-time with our small children and also knows not to let anyone in. Although I've made a verbal offer to Marston's, I suspect it would be prudent to put it in writing. The lady I spoke to on the phone indicated that UU would be likely to accept the offer, so, unless I'm being naive, as long as I keep on paying what I've promised, that should be an end to it. All your advice is, as always, invaluable.
  12. I appreciate that your checking may not change this, and I do intend to deal with it appropriately in the meantime, i.e. making the payments as promised. However, in the long run, that statement in the letter about making a payment arrangement during the compliance period might just knock off the first enforcement fee that they'll no doubt add at some point in the future. I can live in hope!
  13. As far as I can see it's HCEO. The letter states: High Court Writ of Control based upon Judgment obtained against you by United Utilities on 3rd March 2015 in the XXX county court transferred to the High Court for enforcement. Really appreciate all your help. Thanks.
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