A woman suffering from OCD is suing Channel 5 for £ 100,000 after finding bailiffs searching her belongings while filming an episode of Can’t Pay? We’ll take it away! in her flat.
Bailiffs told Natasha Lowe that they were taking away £ 6,000 worth of goods because of debts her then-boyfriend Daniel White allegedly owed his ex-girlfriend.
She was filmed returning to the flat in Woolwich, London, in 2016, to find two bailiffs and a three-man film crew.
In a case filed in the High Court, she is now suing for invasion of privacy by ‘misuse of her private information’, alleging her grief was broadcast to ‘many millions’ of viewers and demanding damages of up to £ 100,000 .
The episode aired to approximately six million viewers between 2016 and 2017, it is said.
Ms. Lowe accepts that she has agreed to an interview for the series, but thought it would not air without her permission.
Natasha Lowe sues for invasion of privacy for ‘misuse of her private information’ after her face was seen on a Can’t Pay? We’ll take it away! Ms. Lowe, who has obsessive compulsive disorder, accepts to give an interview to film crews, but claims she expected to get permission before it aired
She says she had “ chest tightness and difficulty breathing ” and that she had to grab an asthma inhaler after finding two bailiffs and a three-man film crew in her apartment playing an episode of “ Can’t Pay. ? We’ll take it away! ‘.
Ms. Lowe, who was using crutches at the time due to medical problems, says her OCD “exacerbated the confusion” of meeting five strangers in her own home “touching her belongings and walking on her carpet.”
Her case has been filed against Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd, Brinkworth Films Ltd, who creates and produces the series, and debt collection agency Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd, whose agents entered her home alongside the three-person film crew in February 2016.
But all three companies deny doing anything wrong, saying Ms. Lowe had no “ expectation of privacy. ” She herself had given permission to be interviewed on camera, they say.
Ms. Lowe says the first she knew about the home invasion was when she received a call from her then-boyfriend while she was traveling to work – telling her that “ bailiffs had visited her apartment and would start seizing her belongings unless they could prove she owned them. ‘
Ms. Lowe’s lawyers say it was unacceptable to show footage of her ‘visible crying, behaving in a way she would never behave in public, swearing at the (bailiffs) and generally acting aggressively because she was upset by the way she handled her belongings and walking on her carpet ‘
She believes her home was targeted because of debts her then-partner had accumulated.
Ms. Lowe was already rushing home in a “state of panic,” and her anxiety heightened when she entered to see bailiffs searching her things.
“She had to use a blue asthma inhaler because she experienced chest tightness and breathing difficulties during the incident,” her lawyer William Bennett QC explained in claim documents.
Ms. Lowe, then from Pettacre Close, Woolwich, London, says that although the TV crew left her home due to her clearly troubled condition, the bailiffs continued to film her using bodycams.
“ She deduces that one or more persons on the film crew watched and / or listened to and / or recorded events in the flat via wireless transmission from (the) bodycams, ” says her attorney William Bennett QC in documents filed with the High School. Court.
Are you unable to pay? We’ll take it away! couple won £ 20,000 privacy payout
In the case of Natasha Lowe, Channel 5, Brinkworth Films Ltd, who make and produce the series, and debt collection agency Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd all deny any wrongdoing, saying that Ms. Lowe herself had agreed to an interview on camera.
However, a 2018 ruling in another case related to the series saw a few win £ 20,000 in damages after being filmed legally evicted from their East London home.
Channel 5 had argued that Shakir Ali had lost his privacy rights by agreeing to be interviewed by crews, but a judge did not accept the case.
According to mediawrites.lawsaid the statement that Mr Ali was ‘unable to give informed consent’, adding that the father had consented because it was the ‘lesser of two evils’ between giving an interview or allowing images of the eviction. aired without its side of the story.
Mr. Ali, who has two children with his wife, was filmed on the show legally evicted from the Victorian row house in his pajamas and on crutches.
The episode, which was watched nearly ten million times on Channel 5 channels over 18 months, also featured footage of their bedroom and the kids’ bedrooms.
In addition, the footage showed that the landlord’s son humiliated the couple and revealed that they were unemployed and on housing benefit.
According to the verdict, Ali was awakened after being in a deep sleep from medication he was taking. The images show that he looks sleepy and confused.
The couple is said to have faced “considerable distress and constant humiliation.”
Although she agreed to be interviewed on camera at the time, Ms. Lowe says she did so on the basis that it wouldn’t air without her permission.
But her woes were made worse when the program aired to more than six million viewers between September 2016 and November 2017, it is said.
Channel 5 eventually released two versions of the bailiffs’ visit – the first with Ms. Lowe’s face in sight and the second with her hidden features.
In court documents, her lawyers claim she had a ‘reasonable expectation’ that nothing filmed in her home would be shown to the outside world without permission.
She had a right to expect absolute privacy when it came to her interiors and items such as family photos and Valentines, her lawyers say.
It was unacceptable to show footage of her ‘visible crying, behaving in a way she would never do in public, swearing at the (bailiffs) and generally acting aggressively for being angry with the way on which they handled her belongings and walked on her ‘carpet – which was partly the result of her OCD’.
“She further reasonably expected that the condescending and demeaning manner in which she was addressed by Supreme Court enforcers would not be broadcast,” her QC said.
However, in a written defense to the claim on behalf of Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd and Brinkworth Films Ltd, Antony White QC denies that Ms. Lowe’s ‘private data’ has been misused.
On arrival at the property, the film crew had been let in by Mrs. Lowe’s partner, but then left when she returned and asked them to leave, only to change their mind later.
“About an hour after the plaintiff returned to her flat, the plaintiff agreed to be interviewed by the film crew and allowed them to re-enter the flat for this purpose,” he says.
Plaintiff has made it clear to the film crew that she has agreed to be filmed for this purpose. Plaintiff seemed relaxed and smiled at the crew during the interview. ‘
He says it is denied that Ms. Lowe was told that the interview would not be broadcast without her permission.
For the debt collection company, Guy Vassall-Adams QC also denies that anything inappropriate was done and that Ms. Lowe agreed to be filmed.
She would also have known she was still being filmed and recorded when the film crew was out, as the bailiffs’ cameras were clearly and clearly on their clothing.
All three companies say there was nothing wrong with broadcasting the material as it showed matters of ‘public interest’, including how debts are enforced by courts.
Papers for the claim have been filed in the High Court, but the case has not yet gone to court.