A transgender lesbian couple have won themselves £5,000 in damages, after a letter which was published by their local council subjected them to a “witch hunt”.
The couple, who asked not be be identified, had their home in a small village in Southampton repeatedly vandalised. They attempted to combat the issue by installing CCTV cameras around the property, but they claim that the local council caused things to escalate.
Essentially, the trouble began when the pair applied for retrospective planning permission for the cameras, which the council received multiple letters about from “concerned” residents. But, instead of being screened as you might expect, their letters were published online.
The couple say that after the letters were made public, one of which made some extremely disparaging and “libelous” comments, the abuse only increased.
When speaking to the Telegraph, they said: “We have had stink bombs thrown at our car, paint and condoms thrown, our garage door dented with pellet bullets, cars parked in such a way that it is impossible to get into our car… the police say they can’t do anything as there is no evidence it’s a hate crime but it’s pretty obvious why this is happening. We are both transgender. That is really the only difference between us and other people. Our solicitor described it as a witch hunt.”
One of them went on to add: “The council admitted that it was defamatory and that their procedures had been wrong and that was all we wanted. This has been going on for a long time. We could have sued the relevant person for libel but it would be a long, drawn out process and the only real winners in such situations are the lawyers. The cameras seem to have worked, the abuse has mostly stopped.”
The payment of damages was confirmed by a council spokesperson, who said that the payment had been made after “the council inadvertently published a third party letter on its website which contained libellous content relating to a planning application”.
While I am certainly questioning how this libelous letter was published, let’s hope that these two women can now live peacefully.