Real-life Martha from Baby Reindeer to sue Netflix with lawyer who defended Ryan Giggs

Fiona Harvey
Fiona Harvey pictured in London -Credit:TIM ANDERSON

Baby Reindeer's real-life Martha will sue Netflix with the help of a top UK lawyer who defended Ryan Giggs and killer Kenneth Noye.

Fiona Harvey is in talks with Chris Daw KC over claims she has been misrepresented on the hit drama.

Daw, 54, told the Daily Record: "We will be looking to take forward a case against Netflix for damages in relation to the portrayal of the character, which was allegedly based on Fiona, in Baby Reindeer."

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Harvey, 58, spoke out previously in the Daily Record to refute how "Martha" is depicted in the show which is supposed to be based on the true story of Scots comedian Richard Gadd's stalking ordeal.

In the show Martha was jailed before and after stalking Gadd's character Donny Dunn. But Harvey claims she has never been convicted of a criminal offence.

The Daily Record understands that the 58-year-old was given a First Instance Harassment warning by the Met Police over her contact with Gadd.

Fiona, originally from Fyvie in Aberdeenshire but now living in London, says she is suing streaming platform Netflix and writer Gadd, from Fife, for £1million.

Daw is convinced Harvey has an iron-clad case after Netflix failed to prevent members of the public from identifying her as the real-life stalker in Scots comedian Gadd's series, reports the Record.

Daw told the Record: "Fiona has approached me and I've spoken to her about the legal position vis-a-vis Netflix and everything else.

"I'm a barrister. It works the same in Scotland that you have a solicitor and a barrister when it comes to litigation. So I have made a recommendation to a prominent litigation firm in London, who act in high profile cases, including defamation and other kinds of media related activity.

"That introduction has been made. Fiona will be speaking to them in the next 24 hours."

"We haven't reached the point where we have all of the information we need to bring a case or to issue proceedings, but the ball is rolling."

Revealing details of her legal action, Harvey added: "Chris is recommending Grosvenor Law in Mayfair to engage as solicitors against Netflix. He will also be telling people to stop hounding me."

Grosvenor Law has been involved in some of the biggest legal and civil cases in the world.

Among its clients are Tory peer Michelle Mone, 52, and her husband, Douglas Barrowman, 59, who are being probed by the National Crime Agency over £200million in government PPE contracts fast-tracked at Mone's behest to Barrowman's PPE Medpro during the pandemic.

Jessica Gunning at a bar as a martha
Martha, as portrayed by Jessica Gunning -Credit:No credit

Daw, who has a separate legal practice from Grosvenor Law, helped clear John Terry in a 2012 criminal case after the former Chelsea and England footballer was accused of racially abusing rival footballer Anton Ferdinand.

And last year he represented ex-Manchester United player Giggs, leading to domestic abuse charges being dropped.

He has also worked with some of Britain's most notorious criminals.

Harvey said: "He has worked with a lot of clients who have been in the newspapers and he is a very nice person."

Seven-part series Baby Reindeer, created by and starring Gadd, sees his character Donny stalked by a woman called Martha who claims to be a lawyer.

She is uncannily similar to Harvey, a Scot who studied law and lives in Camden. Her actual social media posts, including one she sent to Gadd in 2014 about curtains, are referenced in the show.

Internet sleuths quickly identified Harvey as the real Martha, who is played by actress Jessica Gunning.

In the show, Martha has been in prison for a historical crime. She is sent down a second time after pleading guilty to stalking Gadd's Donny.

Baby Reindeer starring Richard Gadd(Donny) and Jessica Gunning (Martha)
Baby Reindeer starring Richard Gadd (Donny) and Jessica Gunning (Martha) -Credit:Netflix

Although billed as a true story, Gadd has since said the show is "emotional truth" and nuanced. Daw insists as a defence that will not hold in court.

He said: "It's very interesting what the creator has said about this. Richard Gadd's position is following a lot of the concerns about what would happen when people found out that it wasn't the true story it was portrayed to be.

"I've seen some of the quotes from him. In a GQ article, he said, 'We've gone to great lengths to disguise her to the point that I don't think she would recognise herself. What's been borrowed is an emotional truth, not a fact by fact by fact profile of someone.'"

"That, to me, is essentially getting your defence in early but you can't have your cake and eat it, can you?

"If you're telling the whole world something's a true story it's no good to then say in media interviews, 'Oh, don't treat it as a true story, it's all kind of made up and it's not really supposed to be a real person'.

"It's one or the other and I'm afraid both he and Netflix, in my view, have made the mistake of trying to ride two horses at once, both getting the benefit of a true story which we all know increases viewing figures, but at the same time trying to avoid the consequences potentially of portraying someone in a completely inaccurate and defamatory way.

Chris Daw QC
Chris Daw QC -Credit:Holborn Adams Solicitors

"There is absolutely no defence to say we didn't mean it to be a literal truth. That we meant it to be an emotional truth. From a legal point of view, that's absolute nonsense.

"Even on their own version of events they don't have evidence to support the really quite serious picture of criminal behaviour that they painted against her in the programme. What they've portrayed is a recidivist criminal with a history of prison sentences for crimes and quite serious crimes.

"What they are trying to do is suggest that civil proceedings, because interdict proceedings, of course, are civil proceedings, not criminal proceedings at all or harassment notices or warnings, which aren't remotely criminal convictions either, somehow you could justify leaping from those to the suggestion that someone's a recidivist, convicted criminal. I just don't buy that defence at all.

He added: "I've had limited conversations with Fiona but I have no doubt that it's likely to lead to action against Netflix."

The Daily Record has approached Gadd's lawyers and Netflix for comment.