Cumbria household face £100,000 authorized invoice after bestselling writer was publicly smeared


A multimillionaire writer has accused a household of subjecting him to a ‘poison pen’ marketing campaign through which he was labelled a ‘tw*t’ and in comparison with Prince Andrew and Harvey Weinstein.

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Former maths instructor Richard Alan Parsons, 56, who had constructed up a £115million fortune by way of a GCSE examine information collection, was harassed and vilified publicly in his group in Cumbria.

The publishing tycoon, dubbed ‘Mr Revision’ from his best-selling books, sued Elizabeth, 53, and Allan Garnett, 56, and their daughter Katie Armistead within the Excessive Courtroom after he suspected they have been accountable.

The household, who ran a farm on Mr Parsons’ land, deliberate to struggle the allegations, however their solicitors later mentioned they’d not defend the declare and easily ‘wished the proceedings be ”delivered to an finish”’.

Former maths instructor turned writer and publishing tycoon Richard Alan Parsons (pictured) was harassed and vilified publicly in his area people of Cumbria

Allan Garnett, 56, and his daughter Katie Armistead (pictured together) were both sued in the High Court

Allan Garnett, 56, and his daughter Katie Armistead (pictured collectively) have been each sued within the Excessive Courtroom

Because of this, the household have been ordered to pay £100,000 in damages for harassment and libel, in addition to huge authorized prices. 

Mrs Justice Collins Rice mentioned it was accepted that every one allegations in opposition to Mr Parsons have been ‘false and defamatory’ however there could possibly be no discovering in opposition to the defendants because the Garnett household didn’t go to trial.

‘They haven’t acknowledged the declare or conceded the applying,’ she mentioned. 

‘They aren’t asking to be allowed to defend the declare. They merely want the litigation with its attendant stresses to be over.’

The choose famous the implications of harassment Mr Parsons acquired, saying:  ‘Abusive nameless communications, which amongst different issues impugn Mr Parsons’ enterprise practices and ethics and their influence on the group, assault his household, and allege him to be an adulterer, sexual exploiter and predatory abuser of a weak lady.

‘The case in opposition to Mr and Mrs Garnett depends on a mixture of the gravity of the pleaded meanings, the nameless poison pen format and the village context, calculated to, and prone to, gas gossip, the salacious and tendentious content material, together with a reference to a well-known public determine to whom rumours of hyperlinks to a convicted little one abuser have persistently hooked up – additionally calculated to gas gossip and specified circumstances of onward publication, together with to a area people Fb group of round 2,000 members.

Elizabeth Garnett (pictured), 53, was sued alongside her husband and daughter and now faces the enormous legal bill

Elizabeth Garnett (pictured), 53, was sued alongside her husband and daughter and now faces the large authorized invoice

‘Seemingly causation of great reputational hurt in the area people primarily based on these information just isn’t on the face of it unreal. 

‘It’s classically what nameless poison pen letters have a tendency to do, in a village context. It’s their complete level… nameless letters are objective constructed engines of native gossip.’

Mr Parsons was introduced up in Cumbria and, after learning physics at Oxford College, returned there to work as a instructor.

However he made his fortune after deciding the GCSE revision guides accessible on the time weren’t adequate and that he might do higher.

He stop instructing in 1995 and commenced writing his first manuscript, which was later printed by way of his personal firm, Coordination Group Publications (CGP).

By the tip of 2009, his 600 titles had bought over 9 million books, grossing over £48million. 

CGP was valued at £120million in 2019, giving Mr Parsons, who owns 95 per cent of the shares, a internet price of £114million.

He additionally owns a petroleum station and leisure centre in Broughton-on-Furness, Cumbria, the place he lives along with his spouse and two kids, in addition to land together with that farmed by the Garnetts.

The court docket heard the marketing campaign in opposition to him started in August 2018 when he was posted ‘a communication… which comprised {a photograph} of a discover board bearing the message spelled out in plastic letters, “As soon as upon a time. There was a tw*t. It was you. The top”‘.

It was adopted by the typed phrases: ‘Thanks for ruining our holidays with all of your noise. We hope you realise simply how a lot folks dislike you and the way unpopular you might be.’

Then in Might 2019, a letter was posted to the then managing director of the publishing firm, accusing Mr Parsons of sexually exploiting a weak lady on the town and evaluating him to Hollywood intercourse predator Harvey Weinstein.

That was adopted in July 2020 by the circulation of a satirical ‘letter’ presupposed to be written by Mr Parsons, which started: ‘Hey I ask you a easy query, ”Why am I hated a lot?” Is it as a result of I’ve destroyed the group and the native financial system?… Am I sorry? After all not, simply extremely egocentric and grasping!’

The letter had additional ‘salacious and tendentious content material,’ mentioned Mrs Justice Rice, and it went on to check Mr Parsons to Prince Andrew. 

Mr Parsons racked up a £115m fortune and was dubbed 'Mr Revision' after he published a series of best-selling GCSE study guides

Mr Parsons racked up a £115m fortune and was dubbed ‘Mr Revision’ after he printed a collection of best-selling GCSE examine guides

Attorneys for Mr Parsons this week requested for default judgment to be entered in his favour in opposition to all three defendants for libel and Mr and Mrs Garnett for harassment.

Granting him default judgment and damages, the choose mentioned the case was uncommon as a result of the Garnetts had submitted no ‘pleaded case’ on the declare or the applying for default judgment.

‘Mr Parsons’ case is that somebody is behind the circulation of the nameless materials, it’s inherently unbelievable that anybody will come clean with it, and he has cause to consider the Garnetts are the seemingly culprits.

‘The Garnetts have been equally entitled to disclaim them and to place him to that proof at a trial. However they haven’t carried out so, and don’t search to take action.

‘Their denial of publication, nonetheless vehement, doesn’t substitute for a defence and doesn’t make the case in opposition to them unreal.

‘I emphasise once more: it is a intentionally undefended case. I’m not within the place of reflecting on the deserves of an software to defend. 

‘It’s the defendants’ prerogative to not attempt to defend, however that call has penalties.’

Though the judgment doesn’t quantity to a discovering that they did what was alleged, the choose ordered Mr and Mrs Garnett to pay £8,000 damages collectively for libel, plus £12,000 for harassment, and Mrs Armistead to pay £2,000 in libel damages.

She additionally ordered the defendants to pay £45,000 on account of Mr Parsons’ authorized prices, that are anticipated to run to greater than £100,000 as soon as absolutely assessed.

The total prices invoice and the way it will likely be apportioned between the Garnett household has but to be labored out.

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