Elizabeth Watson, a private investigator, was jailed for nine months yesterday for contempt of court, after she helped Victoria Haigh spread entirely false accusations about Haigh’s former partner during their battle for their child.
Previous court hearings, held in private, have already found that Haigh fabricated allegations of sex abuse against her former partner, David Tune, and falsely accused him of abusing their daughter, ‘X’. She was also found by the courts to have ‘coached’ her daughter, now seven years old, into repeating the allegations.
Watson has been jailed for breaching a court order that prevented the reporting of the family law court hearings. She sent emails to local council staff about the case, which then ended up on the internet and “compromised the welfare of the child”.
In a rare move, Sir Nicolas allowed his judgement to be read in a public court so that it could be reported (the evidence given in the case was heard in private). He wanted to do this in order for Tune to be allowed the opportunity to clear his name.
Sir Nicolas said: “The father is entitled to tell the world, and the world is entitled to know, that he is not a paedophile, that he has not sexually abused his daughter and that the allegations made against him are false”.
Haigh, a former horse trainer, model and jockey, was told by Sir Nicolas she cannot make an application for an order regarding her daughter for two years without his permission. He said the woman had acted in a manner “wholly contrary” to her daughter’s best interests.
“Allegations of sexual abuse were first made by the mother and not by X,” he said. “These were false and the mother knew them to be false. X was coached by the mother to make allegations against the father.”
The daughter X now lives with Tune. The arrangement is subject to a local authority care plan.
Haigh watched the judgement from the public gallery.