Judge to rule in case of writer claiming damages from columnist Katie Hopkins


A writer claiming damages from controversial newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins finds out the result of her High Court action today.

Jack Monroe, a food blogger who also campaigns over poverty issues, sued Hopkins over tweets she said caused "serious harm" to her reputation.

She has asked a judge in London to find that she was "defamed" by the former Apprentice contestant.

Following a recent hearing, Mr Justice Warby is to announce his findings.

At the heart of the action is a posting on Twitter in May 2015.

Monroe says the tweet meant she had either vandalised a war memorial, and "thereby desecrated the memory of those who fought for her freedom and had committed a criminal act", or that she "condoned or approved" of the criminal vandalisation of a war memorial.

Hopkins posted: "@MsJackMonroe scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?"

Twitter had erupted after a memorial to the women of the Second World War in Whitehall was daubed with the words "F... Tory scum" during an anti-austerity demonstration.

Monroe, 28, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, also claimed that a second tweet by Hopkins bore a "defamatory innuendo meaning" that she "approved or condoned the criminal vandalisation of the women's war memorial in Whitehall during an anti-government protest".

Her lawyer William Bennett told the judge: "The claimant's primary case is that by reason of the seriousness of the allegations and the scale of publication, serious harm to reputation has been caused.

"A widely published allegation that someone has either vandalised a war memorial or approved of such an act will inevitably cause serious damage to reputation."

Mr Bennett said "the libel was a particular affront to her because part of her identity is as a member of a family closely involved with the armed forces".

Even after Hopkins deleted the first tweet, "she did not apologise or retract the allegation even though she knew it was false", he said.

Jonathan Price, for Hopkins, told the judge her case was that "this relatively trivial dispute arose and was resolved on Twitter in a period of several hours".

He argued that "no lasting harm, and certainly no serious harm", to Monroe's reputation resulted from it.

Mr Price said her case was that "these proceedings are an unnecessary and disproportionate epilogue to the parties' otherwise forgotten Twitter row".

Hopkins had "mistakenly" used Monroe's Twitter handle instead of that of another columnist who had tweeted about the memorial incident.

Monroe told the court: "These proceedings have been a nightmare. It has been an 18-month, unproductive, devastating nightmare.

"I have offered several times through my lawyer to settle these proceedings outside court. This is the last thing that I wanted to be doing."