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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 18:03 GMT
Binman wins 'rubbish' film case
Benjamin
Benjamin "the Binman" Pell said he was duped
Benjamin "the binman" Pell, known for rifling through celebrities' rubbish, has won a court victory against a man who promised to make a film of his life.

He will now get 77,500 back from businessman John Mappin, who told Mr Pell he could turn his story into a Hollywood blockbuster.


I am entirely satisfied that Mr Mappin practised a deceit on Mr Pell

Mr Justice Gray
Mr Pell said he had been "duped" into handing over the money to Mr Mappin, who claimed he would sign up a famous film director.

But instead, he enlisted his best friend Iain Jones, a film student and Hollywood hairdresser.

Mr Justice Gray said he did not hesitate in deciding that Mr Mappin's claims about needing the money to get a big-name director were false.

"No doubt he [Mr Jones] cut the hair of some famous actors and actresses and may well have got to know some of them socially," Mr Gray told the High Court in London.

"But Mr Jones had no knowledge or experience of film-making, as Mr Mappin, his best friend, must have been well aware.

False statement

"Mr Jones was certainly not a suitable person to make a blockbuster film about Mr Pell, as Mr Mappin well knew.

"I am entirely satisfied that Mr Mappin practised a deceit on Mr Pell."

Mr Mappin also lied to the police about the money and submitted a false statement to police, Mr Justice Gray said.


My intentions and actions have always been and are in the direction of getting a film made

John Mappin
Mr Mappin will have to repay the 77,500 plus at least another 55,000 for costs.

Mr Mappin said he "regretted" the High Court judge's decision - and insisted that there was still Hollywood interest in making a film of Mr Pell's life.

A documentary Mr Jones made about Mr Pell was being shown at film festivals, Mr Mappin said, and the company behind Gosford Park, USA Films, was interested in a feature film.

"My intentions and actions have always been and are in the direction of getting a film made," Mr Mappin said after the ruling.

"USA Films is currently in discussion with Mr Jones in Hollywood with a view to produce a feature film project from the Pell material."

He and Mr Jones were "on track" to deliver exactly what they had promised to Mr Pell, he said.

'Contemptible'

The judge also described the need to reach a decision as an "unwelcome task" and described Mr Pell as a "highly excitable" witness.

Mr Pell's practice of scavenging through the rubbish bins of showbusiness stars and politicians was "contemptible" and a "despicable way of making a living", Mr Gray said.

Mr Pell became known as "Benji the Binman" to the public's after selling information he found in the bins to newspapers.

But he claimed during the case to have given up the pursuit.

See also:

27 Jul 00 | UK Politics
'Binman' rubbishes leak role
27 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Muckrakers: Cash for trash
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