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Judge calls for arrest of man embroiled in farmhouse legal battle

Published 23/08/2016

A judge at the Family Division of the High Court in London has said a man embroiled in a legal battle over a farmhouse should be arrested
A judge at the Family Division of the High Court in London has said a man embroiled in a legal battle over a farmhouse should be arrested

A former helicopter pilot embroiled in a four-year legal battle with his ex-wife should be arrested and jailed, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Keehan has concluded Peter Elliott had failed to comply with an order requiring him to leave his farmhouse home in Appleby, Cumbria.

He issued a "warrant for committal" on Tuesday after analysing the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

About four years ago, Mr Elliott had been ordered to leave Pinewood House and hand the farmhouse and surrounding land to ex-wife Leonie Butler so that it could be sold.

Mr Elliott has failed in bids to mount a challenge in the Court of Appeal.

Earlier this summer, another High Court judge concluded Mr Elliott had not left the property and was in contempt of court.

Mr Justice Moylan, who is also based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, had imposed a suspended six-month sentence on condition that Mr Elliott handed the property to Ms Butler as ordered.

Mr Justice Keehan concluded Mr Elliott had not left the property and had not complied with the terms of Mr Justice Moylan's order.

A lawyer involved in the case said Mr Elliott would now be arrested and taken to jail to serve his sentence - and the property put up for sale.

Mr Elliott had been told to transfer the property to Ms Butler in 2012 - so that it could be sold and the proceeds split - after the pair fought over money following the breakdown of their relationship.

The couple used to live in Gloucester and are both believed to be in their 40s.

Neither was at the hearing before Mr Justice Keehan in London on Tuesday.

A barrister representing Ms Butler had asked Mr Justice Keehan to order the arrest and imprisonment of Mr Elliott.

Roger Thomas said evidence showed that Mr Elliott had not complied with Mr Justice Moylan and had no intention of leaving the farmhouse.

Mr Elliott had written to Mr Justice Keehan.

He had asked for an adjournment - and asked for the case be overseen by a different judge. He suggested that Mr Justice Keehan and Mr Thomas knew each other and were in cahoots.

Mr Justice Keehan dismissed his applications.

He said Mr Elliott had been ordered to attend the hearing but had chosen not to attend. He said Mr Elliott could also have obtained legal aid to pay for lawyers to represent him but had not done so.

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