Lover must pay broker for claiming son was his
The Telegraph, UK, By Amy Iggulden April 4, 2007
A woman who deceived her stockbroker boyfriend into believing he was the father of her son was yesterday ordered to pay him more than Â£22,000 in damages.
A High Court judge ruled that the woman, now 46, had made "fraudulent representations" to her boyfriend after lying to him for five years about a one-night stand.
Judge Sir John Blofeld told the court in London that it was impossible to accept her as "a witness of truth".
In the first known case of its kind to reach trial in Britain, he awarded the 63-year-old former stockbroker just over Â£22,400, including Â£7,500 to compensate him for the distress he suffered when he discovered the boy was not his.
"I am satisfied she intended her fraudulent representations to be acted on by Mr A," the judge said. "As a result of those fraudulent representations, he suffered damage."
He said the man was not motivated to sue by revenge, but by the strong feeling that he had been "taken for a ride". The couple - known only as Mr A and Miss B to protect the child - were sitting only feet apart as the judge dismissed Miss B's evidence as "inherently improbable".
He had heard how they met at a City firm in autumn 1995, when she was Mr A's secretary. Miss B, then 34, already had a child with a 66-year-old man she worked with.
She began a relationship with Mr A, then in his early 50s, in April 1996 but it was marred by squabbles.
She also expressed deep distress at their unsatisfactory sex life, the judge was told.
Only months later, she gave into an "overwhelming physical need" by picking up an anonymous man at a bar and taking him back to her flat to have unprotected sex, in November 1996.
She had stopped taking the pill because the sex with her Mr A was so infrequent, she said. Two months later, however, she discovered she was pregnant while on holiday with Mr A in Israel. She reassured him that he was the father and told him she had always been faithful, even though she knew there was a 25 per cent chance he was not the father.
Miss B then continued the fraud for five years as her boyfriend sung his "son" to sleep, paid more than Â£37,000 in nursery fees and took her and the boy on expensive holidays, the court heard.
Throughout this time, Mr A, who is childless and unmarried, said he "fell in love" with the boy. But prompted by an episode about disputed paternity on the television soap EastEnders, and the fact that the boy's hair had grown blond, Mr A asked for reassurances from his girlfriend that he was the father.
She told him more than 100 times that he definitely was, the judge heard. So when the couple split in summer 2002, Mr A asked for a parental contract to establish his rights as the boy's father.
However in July, just before signing a cheque to cover Â£2,000 school fees, he received the "bombshell letter" from Miss B, demanding a paternity test which proved he was not the father.
Mr A had told the court at an earlier hearing: "The discovery that I was not [the boy's] father broke my heart. I was eaten by despair.
"By the time the boy was five, when the deception was revealed, he had a child's concept of a father. He wouldn't have had that if she had told me earlier. It would have been less harmful for him and me."
Miss B, who said she genuinely believed Mr A was the father because they had slept together three times in the month that the child was conceived, said at the earlier hearing: "It is a great scar on my life. So, if it is any consolation, I am not happy."
Mr A had sued Miss B for up to Â£100,000, but the judge did not allow him any damages for material costs incurred for the child because of Mr A's enjoyment of the relationship.
But Mr A was entitled to Â£14,943 to cover holidays and meals. He was also awarded costs but the amount is still to be decided.
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