Girlfriend beat me black and blue, says Anne Diamond's ex-husband
Anne Diamond's ex-husband was 'beaten black and blue' by a girlfriend in a row at a party, a jury heard yesterday.
Mike Hollingsworth, 61, claimed that radio DJ Harriet Scott attacked him after taking exception to him dancing with another woman at the Halloween event.
His barrister, Ronald Thwaites, QC, told a High Court libel trial that Mr Hollingsworth tried to restrain Miss Scott, who was 26 at the time. But she struck him several times in the face with her ringed fist and kicked him repeatedly in the shin, leaving him with a black eye and lower legs which resembled "tenderised meat after they have been hit by a wooden mallet with jagged edges".
The claims emerged as Mr Hollingsworth sued the Daily Mail over a January 2006 article in its Weekend magazine based on an interview with Miss Scott in which she claimed that Mr Hollingsworth, who had separated from Miss Diamond two weeks before the Halloween party in 1998, lashed out at her without provocation.
She insisted that "I have never hit anyone in my life".
Mr Thwaites told the jury that Miss Scott's claims were "completely unfounded" and masked a "wicked irony": that Mr Hollingsworth was in fact "comprehensively beaten up" by her.
The QC claimed that Miss Scott launched an unrelenting onslaught on Mr Hollingsworth because he was dancing with the other woman.
The couple went downstairs to discuss the matter, but to Mr Hollingsworth's complete astonishment and without a word of explanation, Miss Scott suddenly "let him have it". She lunged at him "like a tiger", putting her hands around his throat and forcing him to respond with a slap, allegedly as a desperate act of self-defence.
The court heard she was finally persuaded into his car, but repeated her onslaught on the journey, leaving Mr Hollingsworth with no choice but to pull over and report the incident at Reading police station.
Mr Thwaites said Mr Hollingsworth was then arrested for allegedly refusing to give a breath sample and spending the night in the cells, while Miss Scott was given a cup of coffee by officers and sent home.
Mr Hollingsworth, of Oxford, is suing the Daily Mail's publishers over claims which Mr Thwaites suggested "depicted him as belonging to that despised class of men who humiliate women, and demean themselves, by using violence on them".
Described as a "well-known figure in TV and broadcasting", Mr Hollingsworth began his affair with Miss Scott in summer 1998, although it is not alleged she was the cause of his marriage problems.
He also ran an employment agency for other broadcasters, which was how he met the then "relatively unknown" Miss Scott.
She was trying to break into mainstream TV, having already built up a reputation in the provinces and Virgin Radio.
Mr Thwaites described her as "very ambitious", adding that Mr Hollingsworth eventually fell "madly in love with her", believing that she returned his feelings.
Immediately before the Halloween flare-up she had given an interview to the Daily Mail headlined 'Dating Anne's husband but I didn't steal him away - Don't blame me, says new woman in Mike Hollingsworth's life'.
The interview was allegedly intended to "promote her career". Mr Thwaites further claimed Miss Scott had a history of hard drinking, adding that "when she does get drunk she cannot sometimes remember what she's done".
Mr Thwaites also told the jury that on the morning after her alleged drink-fuelled broadside, the first thing she asked Mr Hollingsworth was "what the hell happened?"
The evidence therefore suggested she had no recollection of the episode in which she was "blotto and out of it" and "for some reason went totally out of control".
Mr Hollingsworth had sought an apology and retraction from the newspaper's publishers, said Mr Thwaites, adding that Mr Hollingsworth was also seeking "aggravated" damages for the slur on his reputation.
The case continues.