Published: 00:01, 27 August 2017
Property tycoon Fergus Wilson cannot sue a woman for claiming to police that he sexually assaulted her, a judge has ruled.
But Carley Ingram may have to pay the landlord damages, if the court decides subsequent claims made about him to officers amounted to harassment.
The former teacher was arrested in May 2014 after an allegation he touched the mum-of-four inappropriately while carrying out work at the home she rented from his wife, Judith, in Stagshaw Close, Maidstone.
The 69-year-old, of Heath Road in Boughton Monchelsea, denied the accusation and after an investigation lasting more than four months, no charges were brought due to a lack of corroborating evidence. He is now suing Miss Ingram for harassment.
The 37-year-old, who waived her right to anonymity, told Maidstone County Court she told police the truth.
The beauty therapist said after Mr Wilson arrived, a conversation about her job turned to treatments and Mr Wilson asked her to massage his neck.
He later asked her to show him her uniform and when she put it on, over her clothes, he touched her sexually, she claimed.
Miss Ingram told the court she had been nervous about Mr Wilson’s visit because he had just announced he would no longer rent to single mums.
During the investigation, Miss Ingram told officers she heard he had tried to visit her on previous occasions, and had propositioned other women in the street.
She also informed police after she received a letter from Mr Wilson’s wife, which she was told could breach his bail conditions.
District judge Susan Sullivan quickly ruled Mr Wilson could not sue Miss Ingram for the initial allegation, because her statement to the police was covered by immunity.
But she will consider whether the further allegations amounted to harassment.
John King, Miss Ingram’s lay representative, said she was merely doing what she was told by the police and everything she had told officers received immunity.
Nina Roberts, representing Mr Wilson, disputed that, saying the claims were made maliciously to avoid being evicted.
The judgement will be delivered next month.
More by this authorClaire McWethy