Clash manager loses bid to sell half of royalties company set up following her bitter divorce from band's bassist

Helena Horton
Paul and Tricia Simonon in 2006 - DON

It is the refrain of their most famous song, but this time a member of The Clash will be celebrating that the law won. The band's manager, and former wife of the bassist, took him to court in an attempt to have their final tie severed.

Tricia Ronane, 54, married musician Paul Simonon in 1990 and for over 20 years she managed the band.

They had two children, models Louis, 27, and Claude Simonon, 24, before splitting up in 2006 and divorcing in 2008.

She has now lost a £5m divorce fight, asking to be free of her managerial duties, telling a judge that she is stuck chained to a man who won't even speak to her.

Mr Simonon - famously pictured destroying his bass guitar on the cover of the band's London Calling album, agreed that Miss Ronane would have a split of the band's future income after they divorced in 2008.

Miss Ronane argued that she wants to sell her rights to a share of his Clash royalties to an investment fund for £5m - but after the musician objected, a judge has now blocked the sale.

The Clash in 1977 Credit: Adrian Boot

Her barrister, Jennifer Meech, told London's High Court that Miss Ronane is "forever stuck" with a man who refuses to communicate with her for any reason.

"Mr Simonon isn't speaking to her, isn't responding to her," she said, adding that dealing with Clash money was a "constant battle" for Miss Ronane.

However, the 63-year-old's barrister argued that selling to a third party could create "great difficulties" for the 63-year-old in the future, as he would have a business partner "forced upon" him, his barrister James Mather said.

That new partner might want to invest some of the Clash profits, rather than withdraw them, he said, preventing Mr Simonon getting at his money.

He said the 50 per cent shareholdings in the company were not meant to be assets to be sold, but just a means to allow the former couple to split up Clash money as they had agreed.

Under the terms of a 2010 financial settlement, they each kept one of their two London properties, while Miss Ronane, who was Kate Moss' maid of honour at her 2011 wedding to Jamie Hince, paid him a £400,000 lump sum.

They also agreed that they would share the cost of their sons' private education and split any royalties they earned through The Clash between them.

To that end, they remained directors and 50 per cent shareholders of a company, Cut-Throat Productions Ltd, into which all their Clash income was paid.

Credit:  Dave Benett/Getty Images

Miss Ronane, who stopped working for the band in 2011, now says that being tied to her ex through the company has became unbearable, due to his attitude towards her.

However, Mr Simonon's barrister told the judge that the former couple "don't get along at the moment" and the punk musician is "very concerned" about who she might sell her shares to.

"We are dealing with £5m worth of shares and a relationship of critical importance to Mr Simonon," he said. "What is at issue is having this new business partner forced upon him."

He said the meaning of the words in the divorce settlement was clear: "It is not open to each of the shareholders to sell their shares."

But for Miss Ronane, Ms Meech argued that there was nothing in the divorce settlement to ban a sale of shares.

If she wants to sell her rights to income from The Clash, then she should be allowed to, said the lawyer.

Otherwise, they would be "forever stuck in this company, which at least on her evidence isn't functioning very well", she said.

She had only decided to sell her shares after enduring "years of Mr Simonon refusing to speak to or otherwise communicate with her either as his former wife, the mother of his children or as a director of Cut-Throat", she claimed.

But while describing the case as an "unfortunate dispute", Judge Cawson ruled that Miss Ronane cannot sell her share of income from The Clash.

A transfer of shares by either of them "would be inconsistent and incompatible" with the terms of the divorce settlement which they agreed in 2010.

"We are concerned with shares worth a considerable amount of money and an income stream no doubt of considerable value," he told the court.

He ordered Miss Ronane to pay £30,000 towards Mr Simonon's lawyers' bills for the hearing, on top of her own, taking her bill to about £60,000.