Neil and Christine Hamilton drew first blood on Thursday in their libel case over allegations of sexual assault when a judge upheld a ruling to freeze their accuser's assets.
The ruling was welcomed by the Hamiltons, who admitted in court on Thursday that in the past two weeks they had received £35,000 in media payments.
Mr Justice Aikens ruled at the High Court in London that Nadine Milroy-Sloan would not be allowed access to £45,000 she received for her story from the News of the World as he feared the money would be "unjustifiably dissipated".
Ms Milroy-Sloan, a 28-year-old divorced mother-of-four from Grimsby, received £5,000 cash, which has already been spent, for the interview on 19 August, but Mr Justice Aikens said it would be "just and convenient" to continue the freezing order.
The judge rejected a plea from lawyers for Ms Milroy-Sloan and added that the facts of the case were "striking, even bizarre". He said the fact that Ms Milroy-Sloan had spent £5,000 on herself and her children in less than two weeks did not mean she was spending "for no good reason" as she had virtually no assets. But he said he was concerned that she had admitted she would spend the money "less wisely" if it were not put in a fund for her children and managed by her parents.
The Hamiltons launched their libel action against Ms Milroy-Sloan after she alleged they had sexually assaulted her while another man allegedly raped her in a flat in Ilford, Essex, on 5 May. Police announced on Tuesday that there would be no further action against the Hamiltons, who have countered the allegations in interviews and through releasing a transcript of their police interview, for which they have charged fees.
Speaking outside court after the ruling, Mr Hamilton said: "I hope this is a lesson for gold diggers ... that they will not be able to profit from their actions."
Yesterday, Mr Justice Aikens made a ruling allowing the Hamiltons to claim less than half their legal costs from Ms Milroy-Sloan, whose legal fees are being paid by the News of the World.
According to Hugh Tomlinson, representing Ms Milroy-Sloan, the Hamiltons have so far filed for £27,000 in legal costs, which could not be covered by their accuser – a woman who was overdrawn at the bank and lived in rented accommodation with two of her children.
The court heard that the News of the World had agreed to pay Ms Milroy-Sloan £5,000 in cash, a further sum of £45,000 to her parents and £1,000 to a rape charity. The judge said Ms Milroy-Sloan agreed with her mother that the £45,000 should be split between them and that her £22,500 share would be kept by her parents for her children.
Legal experts said that if Mr Hamilton were to win damages the money would go to the owner of Harrods, Mohamed Al Fayed, to whom he still owes more than £1m from the "cash-for-questions" court case. But Mr Hamilton's solicitor, Michael Coleman, said any money the Hamiltons made would go to the Police Orphans Fund after the Kent policeman Karl Bluestone murdered his wife and two of his children on Wednesday.Reuse content