SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Michael Mansfield not someone to write off debt

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Moneybags Michael Mansfield tells ex-colleague to sell property to pay him back

He’s trousered huge sums during his career as the self-styled champion of the underdog. But flamboyant barrister Michael Mansfield QC is not, it seems, someone who’ll write-off a debt.

For I can disclose that ‘Moneybags’ Mansfield, 79, is on the tail of fellow lawyer Maureen Ngozi Obi-Ezekpazu. 

In tandem with another eminent barrister, Patrick Roche, Mansfield has just filed documents in London’s High Court seeking to force her to sell property so she can repay them a debt of some years standing.

Flamboyant barrister Michael Mansfield QC is on the tail of fellow lawyer Maureen Ngozi Obi-Ezekpazu.

It’s a sorry state of affairs, given that Obi-Ezekpazu and Mansfield were once colleagues at Tooks Chambers, which boasted of its ‘proud record defending the rights of the underprivileged and the oppressed’.

‘The claim does relate to that time,’ a legal source tells me.

Tooks dissolved itself in 2013 following cuts to Legal Aid on which it depended for 90 per cent of its income. 

Thereafter, Mansfied and Obi-Ezekpazu went their separate ways. 

Mansfield has just filed documents in London’s High Court seeking to force fellow lawyer Maureen Ngozi Obi-Ezekpazu to sell property so she can repay them a debt

Obi-Ezekpazu now heads her own chambers, Family Matters, the website of which declares that its mission is ‘to empower and inspire clients to change their own lives’.

The thrice-married Mansfield is now the head of Nexus Chambers, which assures prospective clients: ‘We will fight for you.’

Mansfield’s crusading zeal tends to reward him handsomely. 

Michael Mansfield filed documents In tandem with another barrister Patrick Roche (pictured)

His prize paydays have included £740,000 for his role in the Bloody Sunday inquiry and hundreds of thousands more for his work representing Mohamed Al-Fayed at the inquest into the death of the Princess of Wales.

Obi-Ezekpazu pulls in rather less. Her earnings temporarily came to a standstill in 2018 when she received a three-month suspension after the Legal Ombudsman censured her for failing to reimburse a client.

The Ombudsman found that she had behaved in a way ‘likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in her or in the profession’, as well as failing ‘to take reasonable steps to manage her practice competently and in such a way as to achieve compliance with her legal and regulatory obligations’ and failing to give ‘all reasonable assistance requested of her’.

Obi-Ezekpazu did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Mansfield. But it appears that she’s one underdog he’s prepared to sink his teeth into.

Fast and luxurious: Jason and Rosie’s new eco wheels 

Vroom vroom! The Transporter’s Jason Statham cruised through the streets of London this weekend with his fiancée Rosie Huntington-Whiteley riding pillion on an electric bike.

Jason Statham cruised through London this weekend with his fiancée Rosie Huntington-Whiteley riding pillion

The pair have bought their £7million ‘dream pad’ in Chelsea, according to a friend of theirs

A friend of the couple revealed that the political unrest in the States and protracted pandemic had left them wanting to return from America to the UK and bring up their three-year-old son Jack closer to their families and friends back home.

The pair sold their multi- million pound home in Malibu and bought a £7 million place in Chelsea. ‘After months of house-hunting, they finally found their dream pad — and couldn’t be happier,’ a friend disclosed.

Plymouth-born Rosie, 33, said that she had missed home and the British sense of humour.

A friend of the couple revealed the political unrest in the States and pandemic had left them wanting to return from America to the UK

Some jokes are too hot to handle for comedian Frank Skinner.

‘I’ve stopped doing April Fool’s pranks because, two years ago, I came downstairs on the phone and told my son that the school was on fire, as an April Fool’s joke. And he started crying. ‘I thought: “I’ve misjudged this.” So I said: “There’s no one in it, everyone’s safe,” and he said: “No, it’s not that. I wanted to do the April Fool’s joke.”

I thought: “You know what, we’ve reached that point — the ultimate parental sacrifice where I become the straight man.”’

Damian Hurley’s 19th proves a whizz-banger 

Nothing could dampen the spirits of Elizabeth Hurley’s son Damian, who turned 19 on Easter Sunday.

The photographer, who is known for his long luscious hair, celebrated at their £6 million estate in Herefordshire. ‘IT’S DAMIAN DAY!! Happy birthday to meeeeee xxx,’ he told his followers on Instragram. He also posted a video of a lavish fireworks display in his honour.

His proud mother gushed; ‘Happy 19th birthday to my beautiful baby,’ to which Damian responded: ‘Thank you for the best second lockdown birthday ever.’

A second lockdown birthday did not dampen the spirits of Damian Hurley, who turned 19 on Easter Day

It didn’t turn out to be the victorious Easter Sunday Chelsea Pearce, daughter of former football manager and player Stuart Pearce, had planned.

The 22-year-old event rider ended up in hospital after being kicked in the head and concussed while competing at a racecourse in Hampshire.

Her father Stuart, 58, was former England Under-21 boss and nicknamed ‘Psycho’ during his playing career.

‘Thank you for all the concerns following my fall at the water at Tweseldown yesterday,’ Chelsea said from her sick bed. ‘I feel lucky to have walked away from it, having been knocked unconscious. The plan is to get back to normal and out eventing as soon as I’m given the go ahead.’

Dame Emma falls from grace in Cruella twist 

Dame Emma Thompson, who has long campaigned against the tyranny of high heels, got her comeuppance when she was made to wear them for her role as the Baroness von Hellman in the forthcoming Cruella.

‘There was this one scene where I was standing at the top of a flight of very slippery stairs in a pair of high heels, with a glass of Champagne in one hand and the three Dalmatians in the other — and a huge frock with a wig that’s a foot high.

‘I said to Craig [director Craig Gillespie]: “This is not going to end well. I’m going to be pulled down these stairs.” I didn’t fall over until I got to the bottom. But I did fall over.’

Star Emerald checks out the farmers’ market 

Teaming stripes with checks has been likened to resembling a walking migraine. But three-times Oscar nominee Emerald Fennell carries it off with aplomb, bringing Hollywood glamour to a farmer’s market in Wiltshire.

The 35-year-old, best known for playing Camilla Parker Bowles in two seasons of Netflix’s The Crown and co-writing Killing Eve, may soon have something else to pop in her basket.

The society jeweller’s daughter is up for best director, best picture and best original screenplay for her debut film Promising Young Woman starring Carey Mulligan.

Oscar nominee Emerald Fennell is up for best director, best picture and best original screenplay for her debut film Promising Young Woman

You’re Beautiful crooner James Blunt says he’s loving ‘pandemic tourism’. The singer, who lives on the island of Ibiza, was recently able to take a trip to Venice because Spain and Italy set up a tourist travel corridor. ‘There are various restrictions going on throughout Europe, and I thought, you know what, now would be a great time to go to Venice because there will be no tourists there,’ he says. ‘A bit of pandemic tourism — get in while you can. I was the only one on the Rialto Bridge.’

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