Channel 5 has apologised and offered to pay damages to a woman with OCD who featured on Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away!
Natasha Lowe sued the TV network earlier this year, claiming that her condition 'exacerbated the upset' of finding strangers sorting through her possessions and walking across the carpet while filming the show - which bills itself as an 'eye-opening insight into cash-strapped Britain from the perspectives of debtors, creditors and debt collectors'.
Lowe said she 'experienced a tightening of the chest and had difficulty breathing' and even had to reach for her asthma inhaler after discovering two bailiffs and a three-man film crew shooting inside her flat.
At the time, she was using crutches due to medical problems, and says she was upset by five strangers 'touching her possessions and walking on her carpet' - her distress then broadcast to 'many millions' of viewers.
Lowe reportedly demanded up to £100,000 in compensation, according to The Sun.
However, a hearing at the High Court in London yesterday (Thursday 25 November) was told the legal dispute has now been resolved through a settlement.
Debt collectors had arrived at her former partner's home in Woolwich, South-East London, to take away £6,000 worth of goods in February 2016.
Her partner had allegedly incurred a debt to his ex-girlfriend, with the bailiffs arriving at the property while Lowe was commuting to work.
The partner phoned her to say agents were 'about to seize her possessions unless she could provide receipts which proved that she owned them', and Lowe returned home 'in a state of panic' as she feared losing her belongings.
William Bennett QC, representing Lowe, told the court: "On her return she made it clear to the film crew that she did not want to be filmed and so the crew agreed to leave the property."
Bennett added: "The broadcast of the programme has caused the claimant substantial upset and distress.
"It has been particularly upsetting for her because she did not owe the relevant debt."
Bennett said Channel 5 had offered to pay her legal costs, despite previously denying any wrongdoing.
Channel 5 said it will not broadcast the programme again or make it available online, having apologised to Lowe for 'the distress caused to her by the programme'.
Robbie Stern, a representative for Channel 5 and Brinkworth Films, said in a statement: "They [Channel 5] have at all times believed that this programme forms part of a series of real public interest, where each of the stories involves a careful balancing exercise between matters of public interest and the right to respect for privacy."
He added: "They are prepared to accept, however, that on this occasion, in relation to the claimant, they may well have got that balance wrong.
"And for that reason they are prepared to settle her claim and also apologise to her for the distress caused to her by the broadcast of the episode in question."
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