A former jockey and racehorse trainer at the centre of a child custody scandal lied that her former boyfriend was a paedophile, a High Court judge said yesterday.
Vicky Haigh made up the allegations and even coached her seven-year-old daughter to repeat the claims, he added.
Sir Nicholas Wall, the country’s most senior family judge, said that Miss Haigh should be named and shamed and her former partner, David Tune, freed from the false smear that he is a child abuser.
He made the damning remarks as he jailed another woman, Elizabeth Watson, who acted as an ‘investigator’ on Miss Haigh’s behalf, sending ‘aggressive and intimidating’ e-mails and internet postings about social workers involved in the case.
False claims: Victoria Haigh, pictured here in 2006, said her former boyfriend was a paedophile
Watson was given a nine-month sentence for contempt of court. The ruling was the culmination of a long-running row involving Miss Haigh which started with her allegations about her boyfriend and social workers.
Initially the secrecy of the family courts meant the public were not allowed to know any of the facts of the affair.
But John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who named Ryan Giggs in the commons as a footballer with a privacy injunction to hide an affair, named Miss Haigh using Parliamentary privilege.
Allegations: Racehorse trainer Vicky Haigh coached her young daughter to say her father had abused her as part of a child custody battle
The MP said Haigh had been unfairly put under threat of imprisonment by Doncaster Council for speaking to a Westminster meeting about family law issues.
It led to sympathetic portrayals of the then heavily pregnant Miss Haigh.
But yesterday that changed when Sir Nicholas made his judgement public and ordered that Miss Haigh, 40, could now legally be named, as could Mr Tune, and that Doncaster council be identified as the employer of the social workers in the case.
The judge ordered that the seven-year-old girl’s identity must remain secret and she can be known only as ‘X’.
Sir Nicholas said: ‘Allegations of sexual abuse were first made by the mother and not by X. These were false and the mother knew them to be false. X was coached by the mother to make allegations of sexual abuse against the father.’
He added that two judges examined the case at previous High Court hearings and both found that Mr Tune was not a paedophile and had not sexually abused his daughter.
Twisted: Haigh hired a private investigator to help her spread malicious lies over the internet
Sir Nicholas said: ‘The child’s mother is wholly unable to accept the court’s verdict and, with the misguided assistance of Elizabeth Watson has unlawfully and in breach of court orders, put into the public domain via email and the internet a series of unwarranted and scandalous allegations about the father and others.‘She has repeated the untruth that the father is a paedophile and – without a scintilla of evidence - has attacked the good faith of all the professionals who had had any contact with the case.
‘These proceedings have had a serious effect on the life of the father and have threatened the stability of the child. Her mother’s actions are wholly contrary to her interests.’ The judge said that Watson had identified parties in the case in defiance of court orders and had criticised social workers and police.
He said she had referred to ‘social disservices’ and ‘abductees’ who ‘snatched children’ and ‘tortured innocent parents’.
Sir Nicholas said: ‘You have seriously breached an order and seriously compromised the well-being of a child. There is no question of misunderstood. You knew exactly what you were doing – writing the most aggressive, intimidating emails calling everyone in sight corrupt.’
He added: ‘She thought herself above the law. That will not be tolerated.’