Daily Mail libel case over claim TV exec hit DJ Harriet Scott

Former TV executive Mike Hollingsworth has begun a High Court libel battle against the Daily Mail, over claims he hit his former girlfriend, radio presenter Harriet Scott.

London’s High Court was told yesterday of an incident in which it is claimed that 61-year-old Mike Hollingsworth, the ex-husband of TV presenter Anne Diamond was “comprehensively beaten up” by Heart FM presenter Scott. The fight is said to have ended his relationship with Scott.

The story of the attack emerged on day one of a libel action in which Hollingsworth, who now works for Cancer Research UK, is seeking libel damages over a piece which claimed he had hit 35-year-old Scott first.

Opening the case, Hollingsworth’s counsel, Ronald Thwaites QC, told Mr Justice Eady and a jury that the attack took place on Halloween in 1998.

He said it ended after Scott, who was drunk, had given Hollingsworth a black eye and loosened one of his teeth when she hit him and lunged at his throat “like a tiger”.

She had also, said Thwaites, kicked his shins until they looked like tenderised meat.

He said that Hollingsworth, who had been “comprehensively beaten up” had slapped her once in a bid to stop the attack and this had split her lip.

However, he said that in the Daily Mail report, journalist Rebecca Hardy had written that Scott was “utterly adamant” that Hollingsworth hit her first.

Thwaites said that, at first, Hollingsworth sought an apology and correction from Daily Mail publishers Associated Newspapers.

Now though, he said he was seeking damages for the effect on his reputation, as well as aggravated damages for condoning what he claims was a “personal vendetta” against him by Rebecca Hardy.

Referring to Scott, he said: “When she does get drunk, sometimes she can’t remember what she did, can’t remember where she was or what she said. That’s how far she goes. That’s how bad it gets. And what’s more – Mike Hollingsworth has seen her in such a state.

“She admits to being drunk on 31 October. You may think it’s perfectly possible she doesn’t remember too much about it.

“When Hollingsworth spoke to her on 1 November, the first thing she said to him was ‘what the hell happened?’

“She didn’t know, she was blotto, she was out of it, she had far too much to drink and for some reason, she went totally out of control.”

The hearing continues.

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