Millionaire lawyer quibbles over payments for son

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The Independent Online
A MILLIONAIRE QC yesterday appeared in court in an attempt to avoid paying extra maintenance to his former mistress for the care of their 18-year-old son.

David Cocks, 57, has offered to increase his maintenance payments but is quibbling over the extent of the rise. Felicity Hammerton, 42, wants an extra pounds 17,342 - the equivalent of two weeks' earnings for the criminal barrister, who makes an estimated pounds 500,000 a year and owns a 50-acre farm in Tiverton, Devon, in addition to his pounds 400,000 London house.

Yesterday's hearing at Marylebone family court, north London, was characterised by the bitterness that has plagued their relationship. Miss Hammerton first met Mr Cocks when she joined his London chambers as his pupil aged 22.

They had a year-long affair but soon after Miss Hammerton found herself pregnant in October 1974, Mr Cocks, who was then married to his first wife Patricia, left her. He did not see his son, also called David, for the first 14 years of his life and has fought every attempt by Miss Hammerton to increase his maintenance. The hearing turns on whether their son requires expensive extra tuition in French, German, chemistry and biology in addition to his private education at a London crammer that charges pounds 11,500 a year.

Mr Cocks has offered to pay the college fees and pounds 10,000 towards David's general care but disputes the extent of extra tuition and expensive private psychological counselling he needs.

Miss Hammerton told the court that her son, studying for A levels, required the extra chemistry tuition because he was weak at it. In addition, he saw his tutor as a stable male presence in his life 'when his father slammed the door soundly in his face'. She justified the other private lessons he had received, saying he was passionate about riding, speaking German and playing the piano.

'Our case is that the private tuition, over and above his college tuition, is not capricious, unreasonable or a liberty but is reasonably appropriate,' Kim Spelling, her solicitor, told the court. He said his client was 'moving into debt'.

Evidence was also heard from Ingrid Collins, an educational psychologist, who said David had suffered 'horrendous' anxiety as a result of the never-ending litigation between his parents.

The hearing continues today.

(Photograph omitted)

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