London

Hillingdon woman 'falsely called man a paedophile'

A woman from west London who falsely branded a neighbour a paedophile in an "unseemly outburst" must pay £1,500 in compensation for slander.

Patricia O'Connor of Hillingdon turned on retired landscape gardener Michael Clynes in a row lasting a few seconds in October 2009, the High Court heard.

They fell out over a CCTV camera which Mr Clynes positioned outside his home.

Mr Clynes spent his life savings on defending himself as he was so incensed by the outburst, the court was told.

He was accused by Mrs O'Connor of installing the recording system so he could watch children playing.

She "hurled at him, groundlessly, what seem to have been the most insulting epithets that came into her head - 'wife-beater', 'drug dealer' and either 'paedophile' or 'perv'," said Mr Justice Eady.

'Sincere' regrets

The judge was tasked with setting a level of compensation for what he called a "very sad case".

He rejected a claim for £15,000, saying most people would find this unrealistic, and decided a "very modest" amount of £1,500 would be more appropriate.

"It is unfortunate that these neighbours could not have achieved a sensible disposal but, as always, it takes at least two to tango," he said.

Mrs O'Connor said she "sincerely" regretted her actions and "would ask the court to take into account my remorse and the fact that this was a one-off incident".

She is likely to be liable for a sum in costs, yet to be finalised.

The pair still live next to each other.

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