Magistrate Sues Daughter-in-Law for Slander over Assault Claim
A magistrate sued his daughter-in-law for slander and libel yesterday over a claim that he assaulted her and his baby grandson.
JP Richard Westcott says that Dr Sarah Westcott, the estranged wife of his son Edward, defamed him when she telephoned a complaint to the police in March 2005.
Mr Westcott, of Wheelgate, Wyre Piddle, Pershore, Worcestershire, was interviewed, but not prosecuted, over the alleged incident and was concerned that he had not had a chance to clear his name in court, said his counsel Ken Craig.
He told Deputy Judge Richard Parkes QC at London's High Court that the "very serious" allegations were known to colleagues of Mr Westcott, who, beforehand, had regularly chaired the Family Panel at Worcester Magistrates' Court and to Worcester Social Services.
As a result of which, said Mr Craig, Mr Westcott's position had been compromised and he had been restricted in obtaining access to his grandson Daniel, who was then six months old.
Counsel said that Dr Westcott, who has obtained a decree nisi from her husband, claimed that trouble flared when she took Daniel to the home of Mr Westcott, and his wife Heather, for a Good Friday visit to his father.
She said that during an exchange over her changing the locks and Edward having a key, Mr Westcott became "incensed" and lashed out at her several times as she held Daniel in her arms.
Dr Westcott, of Roberts Lane, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, took her son to hospital for a check-up, but neither of them had any visible injuries. …