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Claim No. 7CL05742 BETWEEN:






Witness Statement by the Claimant

I DAVID JOHN CAWDELL IRVING, historian, of ... Windsor ... say as follows: save where the contrary is expressly stated or manifestly implied, the facts and matters to which I depose herein are within in my own knowledge --

2. This statement is made in support of a claim for costs and damages arising from a breach of contract by the Defendant, who does business running a Bed and Breakfast establishment ("B&B") in Kew.

3. I am aged 69, and a World War II historian and biographer. I support a daughter Jessica, 13, and her ... mother Bente. My books have been highly praised (In view of the Defendant's statements to police and others I append as Exhibit 1 a summary, What the Real Experts Say).

4. Until December 21, 2006 I was held as a political prisoner in Vienna. I was locked for 23 or 24 hours a day into a two-meter square stone cell. After 400 days in solitary confinement the court of appeal ordered my release; my muscles and right leg have suffered in consequence.

5. While we searched for a new home I continued my occupation as an historian. During June 2007 I resided in Belgium, while my young daughter (13) and her mother Bente remained in London.

The contract

6. In mid June I asked Bente to look for a B&B at Kew, to enable me to work at the archives for two weeks. After several days' search, reporting to me daily that everything was full, she booked accommodation for D J C Irving at the Defendant's B&B, for two weeks commencing on Sunday July 1, shortly corrected to Saturday evening June 30.

7. On or about June 18 I confirmed this booking by email to the Defendant's email address, receipt of which she confirmed on June 19 and reiterated her cancellation policy by email: "Thank you for confirming your understanding of my 72 hour cancellation policy and cash payment on arrival (at least for the first week in advance on the Sunday when we meet)."

8. There is no dispute between the parties that our booking constituted a valid contract for a two-week stay beginning on July 1, 2007, the details of which I confirmed with the Defendant both by email and verbally upon arrival, and again on Monday July 2 after my arrival.

The Consideration

9. The Defendant apologised on June 19 that she would be away from the B&B when I arrived on Saturday evening. The Defendant insisted on cash, and would not accept payment by credit card or cheque. On Sunday July 1 or Monday July 2 I paid the Defendant the sum of £300 in cash, which she accepted on account; there is no dispute between the parties about this.

The Guests

10. Since the breakfast provided was meagre -- two slices of toast with margarine, and a cup of Nescafe -- I had no cause to linger; on each morning there was never more than one other guest present. On Monday it was a Canadian, Don, and I chatted briefly with him, a purely professional conversation conducted between experts, and it is quite absurd to say that there was any abuse or intimidation.

11. The next morning when I entered the breakfast room the Defendant was standing, I recall, next to another researcher, whom I now know to be one Harvey Neptune. On this occasion there was only a very brief discussion about our different research fields. Again, it was a purely professional conversation conducted between experts, and it is quite untrue to say that there was any abuse of intimidation.

12. To the best of my recall, I had no further intercourse with any of the Defendant's other guests, nor did I see any.

The Defendant Landlady

13. On Sunday or Monday, when first chatting with the Defendant, I was as pleasant as is my nature. I complimented her on her large garden, and said I had enjoyed sitting in the evening sunshine outside. She told me of her divorce and other troubles. On the following morning she inquired after my Christian name, saying, "I always like to know my guests' full names." She made no complaint about behaviour, insults, or abuse or intimidation.

14. On Monday morning, seated at the breakfast table, she produced her register-ledger, and asked me pleasantly to confirm again the full dates I intended to stay. She would hardly have done so had there been complaints about behaviour, insults, or abuse or intimidation. I confirmed again that we had booked for fourteen days, and she calculated what the departure date would be, and stated how much money I would accordingly need to pay; which data we both agreed upon, and she entered in her handwritten ledger, which I invite the Defendant to exhibit to this Honourable Court.

15. On Monday evening (July 2) the Defendant became noticeably crabby. Coming into my upstairs room uninvited, she stated that it was undesirable for me to use the pay-phone in the entrance hall -- my young daughter had phoned for me earlier, she now said.

16. After 7 p.m. Bente phoned the pay-phone downstairs about an appointment to view a house, and when I immediately answered the call the Defendant thrust a sheet of paper in front of me. I had no glasses, so the Defendant read it out loud to me: This is my private phone and you will please make appointments if people wish to call you on it (or words to that effect). I quietly replaced the phone therefore, apologised to Bente, and remarked to the Defendant as I limped upstairs, "I am sorry. But this is getting rather inconvenient." "Most people have cell phones nowadays" was the Defendant's retort. This was the only occasion on which we "had words", and this was the full extent and flavour of the exchange.

The denouement

17 On Tuesday morning I recorded: "After a breakfast -- she forced her way in [to my room] at 8:35 a.m. to ask if I was coming down or not -- I came upstairs to lie down for an hour [having been writing since 5 a.m.]. Then she forced her way in again, and said she wanted me to leave, today if possible. I said I would leave at the end of the week." I now added to my notes: "Yesterday morning she asked if I was 'that man' who[m] all the fuss was about last year. I said I was not. I cannot be bothered to have an argument with landladies about history".

18 On Monday and Tuesday, the WiFi Internet connection, on which I depend, inexplicably went dead during the day; this may have been a fault beyond the Defendant's control.

19 On Wednesday morning July 4 I had just begun chatting with the Canadian Don at the breakfast table, when the Defendant sat down uninvited next to him and interrupted. I withdrew upstairs so as to defuse the situation, since there was no other accommodation in Kew. I entered in my notes immediately this description:

"8:26 a.m breakfast ended abruptly. I was chatting in a friendly way with Don, the Canadian researcher on Cuban/US relations, about the PRO [Public Record Office], the Russian archives, experiences in the Hoover Library and elsewhere, when ... Landlady Jeannie Allen, who had sat herself at our table, interrupted and said "I am bringing this up in front of a witness…" and launched into a tirade about Who I Really Am. "My solicitor has sent me the Wikipedia entry about you." And so on. So that explains the reasons for her bitchiness. "Why did you lie to me. Are you ashamed of yourself!" and more of the same. The Landlady from Hell... I made no response, winked at Don, excused myself and carried the two slices of toast upstairs, leaving her no doubt snarling about me to Don."

The rental car

20 I had a valid contract with the B&B and I had breached none of its provisions, explicit or implied. Anticipating that, contract or no, the Defendant might take the action that she subsequently did, at 3 p.m. that Wednesday afternoon July 4 I picked up a rental car as a precaution ("another wasted research day") and returned to the B&B. It was raining, so it was a wise precaution. Recorded: "At 4:11 p.m at the B&B. Surly landlady let me in (her key was blocking the door-lock, on the inside)."

The breach of contract: the eviction.

21 At 4:58 pm the Defendant entered my room accompanied by two police officers in flak jackets, and told me to leave the B&B.

22 I recorded: "I obtain the PCs' identities, just in case: PC 602 TW Lawrence and PC 640 TW Amor. They say the landlady is evicting me; she insists on immediate eviction, 'at once.' I suggest I will be packed and gone within two hours, and the officers think this is fair. I type this note in front of them:

Two police officers as above appeared without appointment accompanied by landlady Mrs Jeannie Allen and informed me that she no longer wished to have me on the premises and I was to leave. I agreed to leave within two hours. Police officers said that was reasonable, as I had effects to carry out. I asked them to ascertain her proper identity, in case of doubt, for service, and she declined to identify her solicitor in front of them. I was reasonable throughout, so were the officers, who said they would file an incident report.

5:08 p.m: the officers returned with landlady with a sealed envelope from which I extracted the "receipt" for "five nights" and left the money uncounted and untouched

23 I informed the police officers that since it was a civil matter there was nothing they could do other than prevent a breach of the peace, and that it was for me to pursue the matter in the civil courts, which I would do.

Landlady from Hell supervises an eviction24 I had equipment and papers to pack and carry down three flights of stairs. I left within one hour. I was in discomfort because of my damaged leg. The Defendant was waiting, grinning and arms akimbo, at the foot of the stairs, and made no attempt to open doors or assist. I remarked in a conversational tone that no doubt we would next meet in court (the only time I made this observation).

25 It took six hours, until 11:20 pm, to find vacant accommodation, as all B&Bs within a wide radius were booked solid. I drove to every B&B in Kew, Richmond, Slough, and Maidenhead, but all were overbooked; finally an innkeeper's wife at Eton Wick, by telephoning around, found me a room near Windsor.

26 Since the Defendant avers in her purported Defence that her guests had complained about my abusive and intimidating behaviour, I have asked for their addresses so I can invite them to comment. The Defendant has refused, citing the Data Protection Act. I asked her to forward a neutrally worded letter to them; no replies have been received as of the date of this Witness Statement.

27 At my request the police authorities have provided to me two police reports made by their attending officers, which I exhibit to this Witness Statement as Exhibit 2 [not posted here]

28 I have read these police reports. The police reports confirm that apart from making her allegations about my allegedly abusive behaviour to her other customers (in order, I submit, falsely to justify their attendance), which allegations are strenuously denied, your client stated to the police who attended at about 1700, as her opening remark, "Officers, I am sure you are aware of David Irving, he is very known views [sic. well known?] for his outspoken views and controversial writing." The attending officers reported no untoward behaviour on my part.

29 At the Defendant's request I have supplied copies of both police reports to her.

The Defendant's Credibility

30 Since the only source of evidence about my allegedly abusive behaviour is the verbal evidence of the Defendant herself, which I repeat is strenuously denied in this respect, I am entitled to adduce evidence about her credibility, which evidence suggests a general propensity for exaggeration in her favour.

A desk and chair were available31 She advertises her B&B as being only ten minutes' walk from Kew station, and ten minutes from the archives. The true figures are in each case over three times as much. Her website map places her B&B one whole street-block closer to the station than is true. In the police officers' presence she wrote a receipt for five days' and nights' accommodation, against the £300 deposit I had paid; the true figure was four, as she conceded. Her statement that the rooms supplied to me contained tables was also an exaggeration: the first room had neither chair nor table, just a bed; the second, third-floor room, had a barstool outside, a painted plank as a table and a child's folding chair leaning against the wall, as the photographs appended as Exhibit 3 show. I am 6 foot 2 and weigh 238 pounds.

My submissions

32 The Defendant, disapproving of what she wrongly apprehended to be my views on history, intended to inflict the utmost possible misery on me, late in the evening, with heavy baggage, in the rain, and knowing that there was no accommodation available for miles around.

33 I believe and so submit that her solicitor late on Monday or early on Tuesday advised her to allege behaviour violating the provisions of the contract (before Tuesday she had made no such allegations but had on the contrary been keen to codify the precise dates of my stay and payments due in her register).

34 I ask this Honourable Court

  • to find that there has been a significant breach of contract by the Defendant; and
  • to order the Defendant to pay the sums claimed by way of costs; and
  • to make an appropriate award of damages reflecting the seriousness of this breach of contract.

Statement Of Truth

35 I believe that the facts stated in this Witness Statement are true.


David John Cawdell Irving

Dated: Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Served this seventh day of November 2007 by David Irving of ... Windsor ... acting in person.


The Independent: David Irving lost a breach of contract action against a landlady. . .
. . . but she has to pay £5,000 costs]

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