THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

What to do when a former dentist hires thugs to threaten you?

I’ve always attempted to be as honest as possible with my faithful (and sometimes critical) followers and, except where the confidentiality of others could be compromised, my “ups and downs” in business and in life have been shared with you. I’ve attempted to be transparent, authentic and vulnerable in all my writing and lecturing – fearless in the delivery of my opinion and open to the disagreement of others. So writing this morning’s post is a huge decision for me – but I feel I cannot avoid or delay sharing with you what is happening to me, my family and some of my business colleagues at the moment. You see, on Tuesday, my home was visited by hired and unauthorised thugs, sent to collect a fatuous claim from a dentist who has requested damages from me personally for an alleged transaction that took place with BKH last year. The evidence is clearly and convincingly to the contrary – in fact the claim is bordering on the ridiculous and we have voluminous documentary evidence to show that. The details can wait – because time is scarce – but I was contacted by his lawyers at the start of July with a series of outlandish claims and I responded vigorously within 4 working days. Silence since then, until Annie called me on Tuesday morning as I arrived at the Cfast offices in York, distressed by a visit from a couple of “huge men” who were asking to talk to me. One of the individuals then called my mobile to make abusive and intimidating requests for immediate payment of substantial funds. When asked for his name, his company name and details of any legal paperwork or court orders, he refused the former and stated that he had no paperwork and didn’t need any – so we are not dealing here with licensed debt collectors – these are simply hired “bruisers” bent on intimidation. His tone throughout the call (which was witnessed) was abusive and very threatening. Later that day Annie and I gave statements to both the Greater Manchester Police and my lawyers. On Wednesday, the dentist’s lawyer received a letter from mine, asking him to cease and desist from this unlawful activity and, if they felt they had a valid claim, to proceed with litigation through normal channels. I also understand that the dentist’s lawyer was contacted by the police with a similar request. The dentist sent me a text message confirming that these thugs were in his employ and suggesting I should settle to avoid “further trouble”. On hearing the news, the hired thugs then called one of my partners in business, lied to him about their information source and threatened him with a visit to his home. Until now, he hasn’t even been implicated in the action and has had no correspondence. His young family have been traumatised by these events – as have mine. On Tuesday night Annie, Josh and I slept with a security guard on duty in our home. After our legal actions on Wednesday, we thought the problem was diffused. Not so – yesterday the “thug” texted me again to set a deadline for 16:00 Friday “or else” advising me to “sell your car, porn (sic) your belongings” and that “time is running out”. I reached home last night after a long day of travel to a partner and children who are completely stressed and fearful for my safety and their own. The police said they would be at our home later last night to take a further statement about the day’s events – nobody arrived. I suddenly find myself living in a gangster movie – and its not funny. I’m wondering whether at 16:00 today my home is going to be attacked or my safety compromised – these people don’t play by normal rules of behaviour – they consider themselves outside of the law and of commonly accepted moral values. Frankly – the scare tactics have worked – innocent people around me are scared – but I am not going to let that soften my resolve to stand up to this anti-social, immoral, illegal behaviour. I’d like to thank all those who have quietly shared this story so far this week – and for their unfailing support, offers of accommodation and advice. We don’t know what the next 12 hours or few days will bring – or what will happen at or after the “deadline” today. Those close to me know who the individuals concerned are – the dentist and his lawyers – and that gives me some solace that even if something terrible does happen, they will be held accountable. Let me tell you what I find incredible:

  1. that it might be considered permissible to use “terror” to intimidate and that, if that doesn’t work (and it will not) that litigation is a SECOND option? How can that be?

  2. that a so-called professional can openly admit that he has paid for this activity to be carried out? (Forget about the GDC – he has been struck off in the time since we first met him)

  3. that families can be terrified, in 2013, in the UK – when they (and I) have done nothing wrong?

  4. that I might be about to be assaulted, threatened, tortured, invaded, robbed, further intimidated – and yet there seems to be little I can do about it?

Somehow, all of us have carried on working this week – the show must go on. I hope I get to keep you posted.

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