Transgender lesbian couple win damages after local council ‘sparks witch hunt’
A transgender lesbian couple have won £5,000 in damages – after a letter published by their local council subjected them to a ‘witch hunt’.
The two transgender women, who do not wish to be identified, live in a small village outside Southampton.
The pair’s house was repeatedly vandalised – but after they tried to tackle the issue by installing CCTV cameras, the couple claim Test Valley Borough Council only made matters worse.
The council received a number of letters from ‘concerned’ local residents objecting to the pair’s application for retrospective planning permission for the cameras – but rather than being screened, the letters ended up published online.
The pair say the publication of the letters – one of which made disparaging and “extremely libellous” claims about the women – led to an upswing in abuse.
They told the Telegraph: “The abuse had just escalated. It’s been awful. All we want is to live a quiet life.
“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.”
Some of the letters objecting to the CCTV cameras had cited young children playing in nearby gardens.
One of the women added: “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.”
A council spokesperson confirmed damages had been paid after “the council inadvertently published a third party letter on its website which contained libellous content relating to a planning application”.
Cllr Ian Carr, the leader of Test Valley Borough Council, previously said the offending letter “slipped through the net”. He said: “It certainly shouldn’t have been published. It was accidental.”
Comments are closed for legal reasons
MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.