Messy ‘He says’, ‘She says’ matter
Sydney based video guy Ben Alcott lost a high court case in London late September after claiming his former partner, BBC star Katy Ashworth abducted their son. Ashworth met Alcott in Africa in 2011 and they started a long distance relationship. The child was born several years later.
The case revolved around access to their son, with Alcott claiming that he routinely has difficulty obtaining access to the (now) three year old in the UK.
UK media leapt all over the trial, sending photographers and reporters to cover proceedings. The press somehow managed to report the judgement, despite the judge suppressing the name of the child. Alcott and Ashworth were both named in many front page reports.
In the reports, Alcott was said to have had relationships with at least four other women at one time, and was quoted in media saying ‘his decks were very crowded’ and ‘it was difficult to balance the different female interests in his life’. Alcott refutes the statements were his, saying that he was extensively cross examined and that the judge paraphrased.
There are two sides to this morality tale, he says. “We had a long distance relationship for some years. We broke up, we reunited. We agreed Katy would give up her high profile career and move here with our son. She was only here a few days and pressures built on her, then she just disappeared”.
Ashworth filed statements just two days prior to trial to allege she had discovered items of female clothing at Alcotts home, and found multiple messages from other females on his computer.
“She did not like me talking to women”, Alcott says, “and two of those women were in fact clients”.
Alcott says he was forced to take legal action alleging that Ashworth had ‘abducted’ their child as his legal options were very limited. He asserted that the child should be returned to Australia. The court found otherwise, saying that Ashworth had come to Australia on a trial basis only.
Alcott’s company Damn Good Productions rose from the ashes of Black Sheep Productions (ACN 065 239054), which went into receivership in 2009 after a family dispute. Eventually Mark Roufell from liquidator PBD would report the firm owed in excess of $2.5 million, roughly half to the tax office.
Damn Good Productions works in Sydney and London, where Alcott made a name for himself working on many Jamie Oliver productions. He subsequently has had many roles, including touring as a video director for rap act 50 Cents.
The personal tragedy with Ashworth ended in the High Court, where Judge Verdan QC heard that Alcott wanted the child to be returned to Australia. Alcott says the case sprung from Ashworth refusing mediation and making access to the child difficult.
“His case is that the move to Australia was intended to be a permanent move and that immediately before the mother (and child) returned to England, (the child) was habitually resident in Australia,” media reports quote the judge.
“The mother opposes the father’s application asserting that (the child) never became habitually resident in Australia.”
Alcott says the case was never a trial about the parents, yet last minute maneuvering led to the accusations against him being reported. “It’s about a little boy, and me being able to see him. I flew over there for his birthday, and at the last minute there were reasons given as to why I could not see him.”
“It (the reporting of the case) is devastating for her (Ashworth) too”, he said. “And that poor little boy is going to read about this online in the future.”
“He’s a brilliant kid”.