Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
Do you have any evidence that she has communicated similar thoughts to any third parties please?
She sent the same text to my Nephew.
Thanks. In order to frame a claim for libel, you need to show three things:(1) that the statement was defamatory,(2) that it referred to you so that you were identifiable from it, and(3) that it was published, ie communicated, to a third party.
If she had just sent the text to you then this would not satisfy the third condition but if you can show that it was sent to your nephew as well then you have the basis for a claim.
What would that entail?
However libel claims are expensive and in order to claim damages of any significant (to make it worth while pursuing) you would need to show that you had suffered some form of loss - e.g. business losses due to your reputational damage. Accordingly libel claims tend to be principally pursued by the rich and famous or those in business as one can easily expect to pay £10K or more in legal fees for such a claim.
However there are words which could amount to threats in the text and therefore you could consider a report to the police under the Protection Against Harassment Act.
You can consider sending a cease and desist letter however as this costs very little as follows
You could consider using the below service to assist you in drafting the same and request a full apology from the lady in question:
Would it be best coming from a Lawyer?
Solicitors head notepaper can add some weight but only to a limited extent and it would cost upwards of £150 for a solicitor to send such a letter. It depends how much you wish to potentially spend on the issue. You can send a letter yourself for the cost of a stamp.
Whether you choose to go from there to issuing a claim is largely going to depend upon the amount you are willing to potentially risk in doing so. From what you say you can prove that her allegations are untrue and that the text has accordingly gone against your character. You may or may nor have difficulty showing that it has caused you any financial loss and if this is the case then you may struggle to derive any meaningful amount in compensation beyond a small amount for distress.
For these reasons you may wish to think carefully about whether you would actually wish to pursue a claim for defamation in the courts. If you have deep pockets and feel strongly as a matter of principle it may make sense to you however if either of these things are not the case it may be something that is better pursued as a complaint with the police under the Protection Against Harrassment Act.
What could the Police potentially do with that complaint?
Notwithstanding that she is in Spain, the police have powers to issue a warning which would likely be the case here, or if harrassment is persistent they can arrest and fine or in extreme cases more severe sentences can follow. There is also a basis to seek an injunction and damages for distress in the county courts on your part though this would be better received if the harrassment continued as opposed to a one off text message.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
No that is fine - I am downloading the Cease and Desist letter and will forward to her c/o her Father who lives in South Shields.
If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.
Thank you for your assistance Joshua.
Do ensure you save copies of the texts and any other communications you have in case you need them for future evidence.
A pleasure. I hope you achieve a satisfactory resolution.
If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.
Joshua - sorry to bother you again but you did say I could request in my Cease and Desist Letter that a full apology is received. Would you give a timescale for receipt or what would be your suggestion?
What would your suggestion be as a paragraph to request what you have said to be added to the letter and I thought 28 days from issue date of letter may be appropriate. What do you think?
Thank you so much Joshua - will take you advice - am now completing your rating with excellent service!