Thursday 23 October 2014

Ex-wife of aristocrat 'feels vindicated' after suing his partner's daughter for libel

Roger Pearson and Ralph Riegel

Published 11/04/2013 | 05:00

Lady Nora Colthurst received damages
Sir Charles Colthurst

THE former wife of an Anglo-Irish aristocrat received damages and legal costs after a libel action against the daughter of his new partner.

Lady Nora Colthurst (57), who was married to Blarney Castle owner Sir Charles Colthurst for 22 years, sued Rachel Myers (26) in the High Court in England over an internet blog in which she was described as "a psycho".

It also claimed that Lady Colthurst's departure from the world-famous Cork castle meant that people could go outside "without fearing for your life".

Ms Myers's mother, Caroline, had begun a relationship with Sir Charles.

London's High Court heard that Lady Colthurst's marriage ended after this relationship began.

The blog, which was written when Rachel Myers was 18 years old, only came to Lady Colthurst's attention in 2011 and she was deeply shocked by its content.

Lady Colthurst now resides in Sussex in the UK but lived for more than two decades in the Irish ancestral home of her former husband.

The castle, which annually attracts more than 300,000 visitors, came into the Colthurst family by way of their 18th Century ancestor, Sir James Jefferyes, a Scottish-born officer in William of Orange's army, who purchased it from the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.

Lady Colthurst said she felt vindicated by the defamation damages and legal costs.

Her counsel, Kate Wilson, told Mr Justice Tugendhat that she had been deeply distressed by the internet claims which were defamatory and without foundation.

The internet blog was written in 2005 but Lady Colthurst only became aware of the allegations in 2011 when she did a Google search of her name.

The blog was entitled: 'Where their wars are merry and their songs sad'.

It also included advice to anyone who met Lady Colthurst to "run away as far as your legs will carry you".

Ms Wilson told the High Court that the internet allegations were untrue and "there was no reason for anyone to avoid her (Lady Colthurst) at all costs".

The action was settled with the payment of agreed damages as well as Lady Colthurst's legal costs.

Felicity McMahon, counsel for Ms Myers, said she first published the blog when she was a teenager and did not appreciate how widely it had been read.

Following the complaint she immediately took steps to take it down.

She also "withdraws her allegations unreservedly and apologises to Lady Colthurst for the distress and embarrassment which this matter has caused her".

Sir Charles is one of the best-known Anglo-Irish aristocrats and owns not only Blarney Castle and its world famous Blarney Stone but also substantial portions of the Cork village, including its green.

Two years ago he banned the local St Patrick's Day parade from using the village green over insurance concerns.

In 2010, he called for Ireland's minimum wage to be cut because he argued the country was not as competitive as its European rivals. Last year, he claimed that Ireland's tourism reputation had been left battered by Celtic Tiger greed.

"We have a reputation in Britain for being unfriendly and greedy with a country full of bad roads and a landscape that has been destroyed by the bungalow blitz," he said.

Irish Independent

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