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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
'Van Morrison ruined my life': landlord
Van Morrison
Van Morrison and his production company Exile dispute the claim

Rock star Van Morrison 'wrecked a landlord's livelihood' by cancelling a concert at his pub, the High Court has been told.

The 57-year-old Belfast born singer is facing a claim for breach of contract brought by Gary Marlow, the landlord of The Crown in Everleigh, Wiltshire.

Van Morrison had been due to play a concert at the 16th century inn on August 3, 2002.

But Mr Marlow claims the singer pulled out despite being paid a 23,000 advance, forcing him to refund 1,600 people who had bought tickets and seriously damaging his reputation.

Originally, the publican said the cancellation of the gig meant he was owed 20,000 for the return of an advance payment plus lost profits from tickets and beer.

'Business destroyed'

But on Wednesday Mr Justice Buckley at London's High Court was told the claim could now total 300,000.

Counsel Stuart Cakebread said: "It's Mr Marlow's case that this ruined his business.

"It destroyed his business and his personal life."

The case was adjourned until Thursday to allow expert financial evidence to be added to the case.

Thomas Croxford, counsel for Mr Morrison and his production company, Exile, said the case should proceed on the basis of the initial claim.

He said the new claim based on damage to the business's reputation was "inherently improbable".

One person pulling out of a concert was most unlikely to cause the state of near-bankruptcy which Mr Marlow claimed, he added, given that his principal business was that of a village pub.

'Extraordinary situation'

"We say the way the claim has been put in relation to lost profit is scandalous and that will go directly to the claimant's credibility," he said.

The judge said that it was an "extraordinary situation" for the new evidence to be mooted at this late stage.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Marlow said: "My financial position is totally perilous because of this cancellation.

"It's quite simple. We either win with costs or we go bust."

He said the stress on him and his pregnant wife, Sarah, who has recently had a daughter, Amelia, had been terrible.

He said the country pub, which has hosted concerts by former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, was miles from any major population centres.

"We depend completely on reputation and credibility to attract people," he added.

Van Morrison case over
14 Jan 03  |  Wales
Van Morrison sued over pub gig
17 Jul 02  |  Entertainment
Doctorate for 'Van the man'
03 Jul 01  |  Northern Ireland

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