Katie Cutler Defends Alan Barnes From Online Trolls
Katie Cutler has hit out at online trolls who abused Alan Barnes after he offered to pay just £10 towards her massive legal costs.
The mum-of-one set up a fundraising page for the disabled pensioner when he was savagely attacked outside his home.
Donations flooded in from around the world for 4ft 6in Alan – who is registered blind – after he suffered with a broken collarbone when thugs assaulted him as he took his bins out.
Katie is now locked in a bitter legal battle with Claire Barber, the Northumberland-based PR who offered to help raise the profile of Katie’s charitable foundation set up after Alan’s attack in January 2015, for £550 a day.
Katie is being threatened with bailiffs after being landed with a £6,687 PR bill.
Alan offered to give Katie just £10 sparking a furious reaction online from trolls who launched a tirade of abuse at Alan, reports Chronicle Live.
Now Katie has stepped in to urge people to lay off the disabled mugging victim.
She said: “I do not think Alan should have to pay anything. Like me, he did not sign anything.
“A lot of people think he should have paid that bill because things in that relate to him.
“If you go out for a meal, the richest person does not have to foot the bill. I feel strongly about this.
“The money raised was Alan’s and that money was for him – it should stay with him. He can do what he wants with it.
“And he does not deserve this abuse. He is a vulnerable adult – I have been brought up around vulnerable adults – and the abuse is not nice.”
Alan says he hasn’t seen Katie for over a year and spends his time walking and talking to people he meets, regularly attending Wrekenton Methodist Church where he sits in the front row.
He plans to live off the money raised for him and says he will make a donation to charity when he dies from any leftover cash.
Ms Barber, chief executive of Claire Barber PR, said in a statement: “Katie Cutler employed Claire Barber PR to handle her PR in March 2015.
“We worked together for four months achieving blanket bespoke PR coverage across almost every national newspaper, multiple TV news channels across the NE and UK including Sky, ITN, ITV, the BBC and Channel 4, Radio 2 and an exclusive negotiated interview on ITV This Morning that took a considerable amount of time to set up.
“Also hundreds of e-mails, calls and planning.
“It was an enormous amount of work with phenomenal success. Katie made two payments in June 2015, then proceeded to write all over social media her shock at getting our bill (which was agreed prior to any work undertaken).
“At this point we offered her a payment plan, but she wouldn’t respond to anything.
“As a small family business with an impeccable reputation and after over a year and still no payment, we had no choice but to go to the small claims court.
“Katie didn’t respond with any defence to the small claims court either other than acknowledgement of papers.
“We are a small, hard working company and we are simply not able to carry this debt.
“We are incredibly shocked with the way Katie has belittled our hard work and devotion to the four-month project that Katie commissioned us for.”
In the months after the attack, Alan got a “calling from God” to move to the Shetland Islands.
But he decided to stay put and is now looking for another home in the Gateshead area.
His attacker, Richard Gatiss, of Gateshead, was jailed for four years after admitting assault with intent to rob.