Facebook holiday photos in High Court contempt case

  • Published

A couple who posted photos on Facebook of their caravan trip to the Italian lakes are being sued by a firm over an earlier insurance claim.

Graham Loveday, 54, of Port Talbot, drove himself and wife Susan, 52, despite claiming he was severely disabled, London's High Court heard.

Acromas, formerly known as Saga, is bringing the case following a ruling allowing private contempt proceedings.

Mr Loveday denies contempt. Mrs Loveday has admitted partial liability.

The court case began on Tuesday and the judges are likely to reserve their decision.

It stems from an insurance claim made by Mr Loveday, a former lorry driver, following an accident in April 2006 involving an elderly motorist, Edward Nield, who was insured by Acromas.

The judges, Sir Anthony May and Mr Justice Keith, heard Mr Loveday sued for a six-figure sum for psychiatric and back injuries as well as lost earnings, claiming he had been left unable to drive and was dependent on a wheelchair when going any distance from home.

Mr Loveday also said he was phobic about travel and could no longer indulge his hobbies of vehicle maintenance and caravanning, the court heard.

Marcus Grant, counsel for Acromas and Mr Nield, said the case was settled in January last year for £1,850, plus costs of £1,574 which were offset against the defence costs, following surveillance evidence.

Mr Grant said the couple had signed documents knowing they contained untrue information.

'State of mind'

He said that Mr Loveday claimed he did not have the "state of mind" to read and understand that a statement was untrue. The insurance firm maintain that Mr Loveday did have the capacity, he said.

The court heard that when Acromas was given permission on October last year to start the legal action, it did not know the couple had been holidaying in Italy from May to July 2009, just weeks before Mr Loveday signed a document claiming he had a "crippling" fear of travelling.

Mr Grant said: "That information came via the Department for Work and Pensions, who have a parallel investigation which included a series of photos which the Lovedays put on a Facebook page about their holiday."

The court heard Mr Loveday drove a Land Rover towing a twin-axle caravan and after his return, he told a solicitor that he had travelled by plane with wheelchair provision for him at Swansea Airport.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Mr Loveday denied lying to the solicitor, saying he could not remember he had claimed to have travelled by plane.

He told the court that he and his wife changed their plans to fly after friends had a bereavement.

'Stubborn person'

He said: "I still dreaded going. I hated driving. Being an ex-lorry driver as well, I just couldn't explain it.

"It was too much. We went because I had to go. If I didn't go out, I'd rot in the house."

The "stop and start" journey took a week to arrive at their destination, the court heard.

When asked about surveillance footage of him on the caravanning trip, he said: "Where's the rest - the days when I was laid up?

He added: "I do make the effort and try and exercise but I don't bend down and touch my toes."

"I make an effort. Because I'm a stubborn person, I try. If trying is a crime, I'm guilty, but I won't quit, I won't give in."

The court heard he agreed he could pick up his grandchildren by bending down but only if they weighed "virtually nothing".

Mr Loveday denies contempt. The case continues.

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.