By Dominic Ponsford
A rapist described by police as one of the most prolific sex
offenders of the last century is suing the Daily Mirror in a bizarre
breach of copyright action.
Richard Baker was jailed in May 1999 after being found guilty of
three rapes and several sexual assaults. He stalked London and the
south-east looking for victims and was reported at the time to have
“totally destroyed” the lives of several women.
Now serving a
life sentence at HMP Wakefield, Baker is seeking a cash payout from the
Mirror over 10 photos published following his rape conviction.
The photos showed Baker with a range of different women smiling and laughing on holiday and in nightclubs.
a writ filed against the paper Baker claims to be the author of the
photos and to have taken them by stretching an arm out to point the
camera at himself, or using a time delay.
He claims the Mirror
infringed his copyright by publishing the pictures and that he is
entitled to additional damages because of the “flagrancy of the
Baker claims the photos were passed on to the
paper by police and his writ says their use “was scandalous and
involved flagrant disregard of his rights”.
He is seeking an
injunction banning MGN from infringing his copyright in the pictures,
and claiming an inquiry into damages for infringement. He is also
asking the newspaper to hand over all photographs, prints, negatives,
and electronic pictures whose copying would be a breach of the
injunction, and to supply an affidavit verifying that this has been
The writ was issued by Bloomsburybased solicitors Goldkorn Mathias Gentle. The Daily Mirror declined to comment on the case.
lawyer Mark Stephens commented: “Celebrities have used copyright to
control their privacy for a number of years now and this seems to be a
similar case. They say you can only do a photo shoot if we own the
copyright on the pictures. What we are now seeing are similar
strategies by people who have even less worthy cases to pursue.”
Another legal expert said that any damages award to Baker would be expected to be minimal.
early 2000 Baker complained to the Press Complaints Commission over
articles in The Star and The Guardian which stated he had spiked his
victims’ drinks with temazepam.
Both papers published corrections pointing out that the offences had not involved use of the drug.