Katie Hopkins loses High Court libel case against Jack Monroe, poverty campaigner confirms

MailOnline columnist referred to as ‘rentagob’ in judicial judgement

Harry Cockburn
Friday 10 March 2017 15:14 GMT
Monroe has won £24,000 in damages in a libel action against Katie Hopkins
Monroe has won £24,000 in damages in a libel action against Katie Hopkins (PA)

Poverty campaigner and food blogger Jack Monroe has won a court case against Katie Hopkins after the High Court ruled comments made by Hopkins on Twitter were defamatory.

Monroe has won £24,000 in damages in a libel action against the MailOnline columnist.

In a May 2015 post, Hopkins implied Monroe had defaced or vandalised war memorials, which Hopkins later said was a case of mistaken identity.

The incident followed an attack on a war memorial in London, in which “F*** Tory scum” was graffitied on the Monument to the Women of World War II during a protest in Whitehall.

On Twitter, Hopkins tweeted to Monroe’s account a message that read: “Scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?”

Monroe replied: “I have NEVER ‘scrawled on a memorial’. Brother in the RAF. Dad was a Para in the Falklands. You’re a piece of s***.”

Monroe then asked Hopkins to apologise: “Dear @KTHopkins, public apology + £5K to migrant rescue and I won’t sue. It’ll be cheaper for you and v satisfying for me.”

Hopkins later tweeted to Monroe to say she was “confused about identity”, and “got it wrong”.

She claimed she had meant to send the abuse to New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny, who had tweeted from her account that she didn’t “have a problem” with the graffiti on the memorial to women of the Second World War.

Hopkins’ lawyer Jonathan Price told the court the dispute was “trivial”, and “arose and was resolved on Twitter in a period of several hours”.

He said that “no lasting harm, and certainly no serious harm” had come to Monroe’s reputation.

But the judge, Mr Justice Warby said: “Whilst the claimant may not have proved that [their] reputation suffered gravely, I am satisfied that [they] have established that the publications complained of caused serious harm to [their] reputation.”

The publication of the altercation, he said, “not only caused [Monroe] real and substantial distress, but also harm to [their] reputation, which was serious”.

Today, Monroe wrote on Twitter: “It’s taken 21 months but today the High Court ruled that Hopkins’ statements to/about me were defamatory. I sued her for libel. And I won.”

She added: “I’ll be writing a longer statement shortly, but for now, to everyone who told me I couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t – I could, I would, I did.”

In a statement, Monroe’s lawyer, Mark Lewis said: “Jack Monroe has finally been vindicated in full from the libellous and wholly false accusation by Katie Hopkins that [they] had supported the vandalisation of a war memorial. Jack Monroe never did, and coming from a proud military family, never would.

“Despite pointing this out to Katie Hopkins within minutes of her first tweet wrongly accusing Jack, Hopkins did not apologise. Rather the self-styled “rent-a-gob” defiantly posted another defamatory tweet.

“The price of not saying sorry has been very high. Hopkins has had to pay out of her own pocket a six-figure sum in damages and costs for a tweet that should have been deleted within minutes as soon as she was told it was wrong. On this occasion, the cost of renting that gob was particularly high.”

The statement added: “Hopkins claimed that Twitter was just the Wild West where anything goes. The Judge has shown that there is no such thing as a Twitter outlaw.”

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