Vancouver Island couple triumphs over ‘garden-variety bully’ in battle for renowned hotel



a large brick building with grass in front of a house: The founders of the internationally renowned Sooke Harbour House resort hotel have been vindicated after a tangled ownership battle. The inn has hosted dignitaries and Hollywood actors.


© Michael McArthur/CBC
The founders of the internationally renowned Sooke Harbour House resort hotel have been vindicated after a tangled ownership battle. The inn has hosted dignitaries and Hollywood actors.

The Vancouver Island couple who built Sooke Harbour House into one of Canada’s most renowned tourist destinations has won a resounding victory in their battle to wrest control of their beloved hotel away from a pair of purported financiers. 

In a blistering decision Tuesday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge awarded Frederique and Sinclair Philip — now in their 70s — more than $4 million for the “six-year odyssey of lies, excuses, threats, intimidation and bullying” they suffered at the hands of Timothy Durkin and his partner Roger Gregory.

In a 94-page ruling, Justice Bill Basran concluded the Philips’ “reasonable expectation of a comfortable and well-deserved retirement has been effectively stolen from them because they unknowingly put their future in the hands of these two fundamentally dishonest individuals.”

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The judge reserved especially harsh words for Durkin, who — according to the judgment — swore a false affidavit in order to obtain an injunction that kept the Philips away from the hotel while he fought them in court.

“His view of the truth is whatever will serve his interests in the moment. He is entirely unencumbered by ordinary norms of morality, integrity and decency. He is a garden-variety bully who preys upon those whom he perceives to be weaker than himself and vulnerable to his mistruths and manipulation,” Basran wrote.

“Unfortunately for the Philips, they were victims of Mr. Durkin’s countless lies and deceptions.”

The toast of the culinary world

The decision marks the latest turn in a saga that has been ongoing since 2014, when the Philips — burdened by debt that started with the global financial crisis — first met Durkin and Gregory.

In the 35 years prior, they had turned the six-room bed and breakfast they purchased in 1979 into a culinary sensation beloved by wine and food critics, frequented by celebrities and world leaders and honoured by Canada’s Governor General.

The Philips reached a share purchase agreement in 2014 that would have seen Durkin and Gregory purchase their interest in the hotel for $6 million. 

The Philips believed they were going to get $2 million, and according to the judgment, Durkin assured them that his company — SHH Holdings — had the resources to cover the existing mortgage and interest owed to the Business Development Bank of Canada.

In fact, Basran found that despite Durkin and Gregory’s grand promises of a “syndicate” or “posse” of investors from Tehran to Zurich — SHH Holdings never raised more than $54,000.

‘Lies, excuses and misrepresentations’

The judge said Durkin took control of hotel operations and kept stringing the Philips along, until they ultimately signed a settlement agreement in which Durkin promised his company would pay off the mortgage and give the Phillips $1.5 million.

But that never happened, and the Phillips attempted to take control of the hotel in

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Evil bully, 25, held his ex-girlfriend, 39, prisoner and battered her with bathroom door after she went out with friends

A TERRIFIED domestic abuse survivor feared she would die after her evil ex held her prisoner when she went out with pals.

Katrina Pidden, 39, was battered with a bathroom door by raging Mitchell Liversedge, 25, in one brutal attack.

Katrina Pideen was left battered and bruised at the hands of her thug ex

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Katrina Pideen was left battered and bruised at the hands of her thug exCredit: Mercury Press
She was hit with a bathroom door in one brutal attack

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She was hit with a bathroom door in one brutal attackCredit: Mercury Press
Mitchell Liversedge has now been jailed for five years

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Mitchell Liversedge has now been jailed for five yearsCredit: Mercury Press

She was also held captive by the thug in her own home in Daventry, Northants, and left with horror injuries – including one of her teeth being knocked out.

Her nightmare ordeal came to an end in September last year when a neighbour saw the brute dragging bloodied Katrina across the garden and called police.

The brave retail assistant has now spoken out about the abuse after Liversedge was caged for five years in March for four counts of ABH.

He was also convicted of one charge of false imprisonment, one count of damaging property, one for threatening to destroy or damage property, and one charge of engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship.

Katrina has spoken out about her horror ordeal

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Katrina has spoken out about her horror ordealCredit: Mercury Press
Her tooth was knocked out in one attack

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Her tooth was knocked out in one attackCredit: Mercury Press

Katrina said: “I’d split up with him and he turned up at my house and started getting out of control.

“He threw a drink over me so I took myself into the garden to get away from him.

“He came flying outside, attacked me, hitting me over the head with the kitchen chair.

“He dragged me down the garden by my finger and my finger ended up so swollen that my ring had to be cut off.

“I only had a nightie on so my skin was getting scraped on the path.

“I thought he was going to kill me.”

Katrina feared Liversedge would kill her

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Katrina feared Liversedge would kill herCredit: Mercury Press
She met the brute on a night out last year and he soon became possessive

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She met the brute on a night out last year and he soon became possessiveCredit: Mercury Press

Katrina met Liversedge on a night out in 2019 and says the first four months of their relationship was perfect.

But the thug soon became possessive and banned Katrina from having any male friends.

He also called her “horrible names” if they went out before the emotional abuse turned violent.

Katrina said: “The first time he got violent, he tried to hit me with an iron and threw a cup at me.

“He said it would never happen again but he started pushing me around, throwing me into things then it turned into slaps and then punches and kicks.”

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call
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