Published: 18:49, 09 May 2022
| Updated: 08:35, 10 May 2022
Multi-millionaire landlord Fergus Wilson has been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in costs to a council after he subjected employees to a "decade of harassment".
After losing a High Court battle, the notorious property mogul was slapped with a permanent injunction last year, preventing him from contacting Ashford council.
It comes after a "decade of harassment" in which Mr Wilson, a buy-to-let landlord from Maidstone, repeatedly instructed councillors to kill themselves, and sent huge numbers of unsolicited letters and emails.
In September, a court ruled in Ashford council's favour and a previous temporary injunction was made permanent which banned foul-mouthed Mr Wilson from contacting directly any member or other worker associated with the council unless through a named legal advisor.
Last week the High Court was asked to consider the matter of costs.
Mr Wilson now representing himself, had objected to a final costs order because he claimed the barrister, who was instructed under the Direct Access Scheme, no longer had the authority having come off the case months prior.
However, Darryl Allen QC, sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court, said it was clear that the barrister Alexander Deakin had agreed the order and that Wilson was bound by it.
Mr Wilson also objected to the costs involved, and said he did not believe he should have to pay anything.
The property tycoon argued the council had brought proceedings "motivated by spite" and that they had taken a "sledgehammer to knock in a tin tack".
Countering the court's earlier findings, he said any order for costs should be delayed until after the appeal he intends to make.
But Darryl Allen QC dismissed Mr Wilson's claims as being "without foundation".
The judge did not agree with the defendants assessment of proceedings being "vexatious" and instead praised the conduct of the council.
"They were perfectly proper proceedings designed and intended solely to protect the welfare of the First Claimant's current and former officers, employees, councillors and agents," he explained.
"Had the claimants not issued these proceedings then they could have been vulnerable to criticism or complaint from those officers, employees, councillors and agents for failure to take necessary action.
Darryl Allen QC added: "It is a significant step for a public body, particularly a local council, to seek an injunction restraining the behaviour of one of its residents," he said.
"In my judgment it is was appropriate to issue proceedings in the High Court and to instruct leading counsel. In any event, those factors go to the level of costs, not the incidence of costs.
The full case was heard in February last year. During proceedings it was heard how the landlord would make needless phone calls and issued formal complaints against officers, councillors and legal representatives.
The council's representative Adam Solomon QC handed over a staggering 454 pieces of correspondence sent by Mr Wilson to council officials in the space of just over four years, between February 2016 and July 2020.
Mr Soloman said Mr Wilson's behaviour had made workers feel harassed and intimidated, with some receiving emails from him on a daily basis.
Council leader Gerry Clarkson reportedly received a large number of letters to his home address, one of which – amongst a large amount of profanity – told him to "do all of the young people in Ashford a favour and commit suicide".
During last week's hearing the court ordered Mr Wilson to make a payment of £125,000 to Ashford council by 4pm on May 17 as a part payment "on account" while the full costs are assessed.
The council believes this value, just under 75% of their estimated costs of £170,000, represents a reasonable sum.
To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.