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Pensioner faces court bill over online slurs.

Byline: LIAM MURPHY ECHO Reporter liam.murphy@trinitymirror.com @liam1971

A FRAIL pensioner has been taken to court by a Wirral company who claim "libellous" online comments have cost them a massive drop in turnover.

Steven Barber, the son of disgraced fraudster Malcolm Barber, instructed solicitors to take action against 67-yearold Philip Lovgreen because of the alleged defamation of his company, Bridging Finance Solutions Group.

Mr Lovgreen said he apologised and removed the comments within hours of them being posted on a cricket forum and on Twitter.

But, in documents submitted to High Court, Mr Barber claims the comments caused his business to suffer a massive drop in turnover, from PS1,736,605 in September 2015 to PS742,368 in the month following the posts, and then PS648,458 in November.

Malcolm Barber, a former treasurer of the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition, tricked 127 victims, predominantly pensioners, out of their life savings through an elaborate PS5m savings scam and was jailed for four years in 2014.

Mr Lovgreen, from Little Sutton, posted comments online after seeing that Steven Barber's company was sponsoring Tranmere Rovers.

There is no link between Malcolm Barber's offences and Bridging Finance Solutions.

The company said it is not seeking damages from Mr Lovgreen - but want him to cover the legal costs, which he fears could run to thousands of pounds.

Mr Lovgreen said he apologised to the company straight away and thought it would be the end of the matter.

Instead, he received legal letters informing him that his "apology falls somewhat short of what will be acceptable".

Mr Lovgreen was told to attend court but said was unable to do so for health reasons.

He said: "I am pensioner living on a weekly pension. There is no way I would be able to pay the costs.

"It was only up online for a few hours and I removed it. Sometimes I do things on impulse. So I removed it, but some time later I started having these letters."

Mr Lovgreen, who has been ill for several years, said the stress of the legal case was now making him more unwell.

He added: "I've had two mini-strokes and a deep vein thrombosis and am on permanent medication.

"Steven Barber has caused a great deal of stress with the endless stream of correspondence, which piles up to about 6 inches, that I have received."

However, Mr Barber said the company was "left with no choice" but to take legal action.

He said: "As a company that operates to the highest standard of regulatory and professional ethics, and most importantly, provide security to the company's employees and their families, on November 18, 2015, the company instructed solicitors to obtain an injunction against Mr Lovgreen preventing him from publishing any further false allegations.

"In court, it was ruled that his allegations were entirely false, and an injunction was granted by Liverpool High Court on May 26, 2016, preventing Mr Lovgreen from publishing or encouraging others to make further comments in relation to the company.

"The company has chosen to not seek any damages from Mr Lovgreen and only cover the lawyer's costs in gaining the injunction without any financial gain to itself.

"The company welcomes the opportunity to make matters very clear in this unfortunate matter."

I am pensioner living on a weekly pension. There is no way I would be able to pay the costs. Philip Lovgreen on the court action

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Philip Lovgreen
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 6, 2016
Words:578
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