Curzon arrested over pounds 575,000 divorce deal

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The Independent Online
The heir to one of Britain's grandest aristocratic titles faces a High Court grilling today over his failure to pay a pounds 575,000 divorce settlement.

The Hon Peter Curzon, eldest son of Lord Scarsdale, will appear before the family division to explain why he has not obeyed the County Court ruling.

Mr Curzon, 45, who lives in Florida, was arrested on Friday while lunching in an Eastbourne restaurant after his ex-wife's solicitors won a High Court writ.

The writ was granted under the rarely used law of Ne Exeat Regno ("shall not leave the realm") to prevent him fleeing the court's jurisdiction again.

Mr Curzon was kept in custody over the weekend after Mr Justice Wilson decided on Saturday that his "track record" of non-cooperation with the court meant there was a real risk he would not appear tomorrow.

In June last year, he was ordered by Hastings County Court to pay a lump sum made up of pounds 175,000 for his 13-year-old daughter, Danielle, and pounds 400,000 for his ex-wife, Karen, who live at the former family home of Battlebarn Farm, Sedlescombe, East Sussex.

Mr Curzon, whose father, Francis, is the third Viscount, seventh Baron and 11th Baronet Scarsdale, is claiming he does not have the cash while his ex-wife insists he has substantial assets overseas.

The Curzons are one of the grandest aristocratic families in Britain. Their motto runs: "Let Curzon holde what Curzon helde." The family can trace their ancestors back to Robert de Courson, a Norman noble who arrived in 1066 with William the Conqueror. One forbear was George Curzon, Viceroy of India and a Foreign Secretary.

The case is the second time Mr Curzon has been involved in a bitter family dispute over cash. During the 1980s, there was an open feud between him and Lord Scarsdale over the fate of the family seat, Kedlestone Hall, in Derbyshire.

Mr Curzon wanted the property sold so he could pick up 10 per cent of the proceeds. Instead, his father agreed a scheme with the National Trust under which the trust paid pounds 2.5m to the Inland Revenue. Lord Scarsdale retreated to one Georgian wing of the stately house and allowed the public to visit the rest. Father and son have not spoken since.