The journalism website HoldTheFrontPage says a landlord who tried to sue a weekly newspaper for defamation over its coverage of a fire at the centre of a bogus insurance claim has been convicted of fraud.
Mahendra Shah was sentenced at the Old Bailey after filing a claim of £810,000 for a house he owned, having taken out a new policy minutes after the property had gone up in flames.
The site says Shah previously complained to the high court over three articles in the Croydon Advertiser which described him as a “rogue landlord” - a term commonly used by journalists.
Those stories referenced his long history of landlord-related offences and fines, which dated back to 2002.
Shah filed papers in 2014 alleging the articles defamed him but the claim was struck out at the Royal Courts of Justice in April and he was ordered to pay £11,592 costs.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud last month.
At this week’s sentencing, HoldTheFrontPage says the recorder described Shah as “greedy” and “dishonest” but decided not to send him to prison after being told of his health problems - he suffered from epilepsy and had recently experienced a minor heart attack and a stroke.
Shaw, who owns around 10 properties in London, was sentenced to 18 months suspended for two years and ordered to pay a fine of up to £46,000, prosecution costs of £400, and a surcharge of £100.