Lenny Henry’s daughter posed as comedian and sent ‘manipulative’ false messages in attempt to win back boyfriend

Billie Henry was given a five-year restraining order

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 07 May 2020 11:13 BST
Lenny Henry and Dawn French at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards, 23 November 2009
Lenny Henry and Dawn French at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards, 23 November 2009 (Rex Features)

Billie Henry, the adopted daughter of Lenny Henry and Dawn French, has been given a suspended prison sentence for posing as her father and sending “highly manipulative false messages” to her ex-boyfriend.

A Skype hearing at Truro crown court was told that Billie pretended to be the comedian to save her relationship with Samuel King, offering him up to £40,000 to help get him out of debt.

The court was also told that Billie made a false accusation that her father had assaulted her, to elicit “extreme sympathy” from King.

French was among those watching online as her daughter was sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for 12 months, with a requirement that she carry out 20 rehabilitation activity sessions.

Judge Simon Carr also imposed a five-year restraining order banning Billie from any contact with King and his family.

He said: “You sent a barrage of messages, most manipulative and some threatening.

“Your primary motivation was to try and continue the relationship and the messages were very substantial in number and went on for five months.

“It had a significant psychological and financial effect on him.

“You had an at times unique childhood which must have been very challenging. You never sought any publicity but publicity follows you for reasons beyond your control.

“I hope you receive the help you need and the support to assist you.”

Matthew Farmer, for the prosecution, said: “[King] wanted to end the relationship for a number of reasons, including her suffocating behaviour, bombarding him with messages and not allowing him space or time for his son.

“There followed a complex series of highly manipulative false messages sent by Billie Henry to try and continue the relationship as she couldn’t accept it was over. The messages caused distress and anxiety and were intended to provoke extreme sympathy.”

Jo Martin, QC, in mitigation, said Billie was remorseful for the distress she caused to King.

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