An aristocrat has been branded ‘malicious and cynical’ by a senior judge after he lost a two year legal battle to avoid paying £26,000 compensation to two female employees he discriminated against because they were pregnant.

In 2019, Sir Benjamin Slade’s case against Roxanne Steward and Melissa Biggs was dismissed after the tribunal found that Slade had committed “one of most inexcusable acts of discrimination”

The ‘nasty’ baronet, who withheld their maternity pay and accused them of timing their pregnancies to ‘spite’ him, was then ordered to pay £179,500 compensation to the women.

However, he has since failed to pay a £26,500 ‘uplift’ fee from the sum, which the tribunal imposed due to his behaviour being so exceptional, and has dragged out the legal battle for another two years by launching an appeal.

“Too high,” cried the multimillionaire ex-stockbroker, who was born to Alfred the Great.

However, the High Court Judge has dismissed the appeal of the 75-year old and charged him with malice for not adhering to the Acas workplace rules.

Sir Benjamin Slade, pictured at his home in Somerset, was ordered to pay out £150,000 to two female former employees after they won a sexual discrimination case against him

Sir Benjamin Slade, pictured at his home in Somerset, was ordered to pay out £150,000 to two female former employees after they won a sexual discrimination case against him

Melissa Biggs, pictured above with 18-month-old daughter Maisie, had her maternity pay withheld after Sir Benjamin claimed she had times her pregnancy to 'spite' him

Melissa Biggs (pictured above) and her 18-month old daughter Maisie had their maternity pay withheld because Sir Benjamin said she had had to have twice her pregnancies in order to’spite of’ him

Roxanne Stewart, pictured with daughter Berrie, fell pregnant at a similar time to Mrs Briggs and was not paid any maternity pay

Roxanne Stewart and daughter Berrie are pictured here. Roxanne was pregnant around the same time that Mrs Briggs, but she wasn’t paid any maternity wages 

Justice Griffiths stated that his arguments were “unconvincing”, and said the ‘uplift was completely justified.

“The failure to adhere to either the letter nor the essence of ACAS Codes seems, according to the facts of the (tribunal), to have been extraordinarily cynical.

Sir Benjamin was described as being arrogant, misogynistic, and previously advertised for an attractive young “breeder” wife. She could have two sons and would be able to run the estates.

One of his estates, Maunsel House – a 17-bedroom 13th century manor house in 1,300 acres of land in the West Country – was put on the market for £30 million this year.

The long-running legal dispute between Mr Biggs, Mrs Stewart, and his other country property was centred on 17th Century Woodlands Castle, Taunton, Somerset.

In July this year, he reportedly got engaged to Sahara Sunday Spain, daughter of Johnny Spain, a member of the Black Panthers who was jailed for murder. 

Woodlands Castle, a 17th century country house near Taunton, Somerset, which Sir Benjamin owns and hires out for functions. Mrs Biggs and Ms Stewart had both worked there as event planners up until their pregnancies

Woodlands Castle in Somerset is Sir Benjamin’s 17th century country residence that Sir Benjamin can rent out for functions. Both Mrs Biggs, and Ms Stewart worked there up to their pregnancies as event planners. 

2017 saw the birth of Ms Stewart and Mrs Biggs, both 28-year-old event planners at leafy Woodlands Castle.

Tribunal heard that Sir Benjamin mistreated them both and they had preterm births as a result.

In November 2017, Mrs Biggs didn’t receive maternity leave and Ms Stewart was not paid. She had been working for Sir Benjamin Woodlands right out of school.

Ms Stewart made a complaint to Sir Benjamin, who called maternity leave ‘fucking entitlements.’ He also said that Woodlands had told him another pair of Woodlands pregnancies were timed to’spite him.

He threatened them with police theft. He maliciously blamed the premature births of their children on their drinking and smoking before they became pregnant. Mrs Biggs was then described as having ‘dropped’ her baby.

Both Ms Stewart and Mrs. Stewart were fired from the company two days prior to Christmas, the same day that she had brought her preterm baby girl home from the hospital.

The letter informed Ms Stewart that her employment had ended December 4, which was the date she gave birth.

Melissa Biggs

Roxanne Stewart

Sir Benjamin was ordered to pay £179,500 compensation to Melissa Biggs, left, and Roxanne Stewart, right, on discrimination grounds 

The tribunal reported that Sir Benjamin felt their getting pregnant around the same time was very inconvenient. Therefore, he decided not to retain their services. This would have avoided the hassle of having temporary staff stand in for them.

“Sir Benjamin” decided to make their exit from employment.

Particularly, Ms. Stewart was subject to an “incompletely spurious, vindictive, ‘disciplinary’ process designed to drive it from her business, both before and after she gave birth pretermily and in the weeks that followed, while her baby was being treated intensively,” the tribunal determined.

According to the report, Sir Benjamin made “blatantly discriminatory comments about women” and made “wide-ranging, lurid allegations without any supporting evidence”. The allegations were also ‘absolutely trumpedup.”

Both women were left with severe financial and emotional consequences. They filed claims for unfair dismissal at the 2017 Bristol tribunal.

Ms Stewart was awarded £108,744 and Mrs Biggs £70,760.

Sir Benjamin appealed a £26,500 uplift fee at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London, but The Honourable Mr Justice Griffiths rejected his case.

Sir Benjamin stated that the number was too high in absolute terms for it to be acceptable or proportionate.

After failing to pay the women an 'uplift' fee, Sir Benjamin launched an appeal which was then rejected by a High Court judge who accused the 75-year-old of 'malice' in not following employment practices laid down by the workplace rules organisation Acas

Sir Benjamin filed an appeal after failing to pay the women an ‘uplift’ fee. A High Court judge dismissed the appeal. He accused Benjamin of’malice’ for not following the Acas-recommended employment practices. 

Jessica Cooper-Hogan (a 19-year old events worker) brought claims for sex discrimination against Sir Benjamin.

This year, the aristocrat resigned from court and settled with her.

The controversial Sir Benjamin was the headline story in 2019, when he launched a search for a woman who would be able to provide him male heirs.

The requester was looking for a “breeder” who is taller than 5ft6in but not more, and who has a gun license and been ‘castle-trained’.

This isn’t the first instance of such appeals by the baronet without an heir.

He has offered £50,000 ‘pocket money’ for a suitable woman, plus a car, house, expenses, food and holidays, so long as she can provide him with two sons.

Reports say that Sir Benjamin started a relationship in 2009 with a 29-year old woman.

Who is Sir Benjamin Slade and what are his origins? Sir Benjamin Slade, an eccentric man who advertised once for the “perfect breeder” as his wife.

Sir Benjamin Slade, 72, inherited his baronetcy from his father in 1962, and lives in Maunsel House in Bridgwater, Somerset.

He recently announced that he would be selling England’s largest privately owned nature reserve, 398 acres on the Somerset Levels. 

The new owner will take the title Wardwick of the North Moor, which was created by Alfred the Great in 878 while he stayed in the area. 

Sir Benjamin Slade at his home, Maunsel House in Somerset. He inherited his baronetcy from his father in 1962

Sir Benjamin Slade in his Somerset home, Maunsel house. He inherited his baronetcy from his father in 1962

Last year, Eccentric Sid Benjamin became a big news story after he announced his quest for a wife to provide him with 2 sons.

The list of ideal breeders was so impressive that it raised eyebrows. They should have a height greater than 5ft6in and preferably 6ft1in and 6ft2in.

Sir Benjamin, a shipping magnate and billionaire, was also charged in 2012. He was arrested for possessing an unregistered firearm, as well as breaching the shotgun certificate.

According to him, he shot at the foxes using his bedroom window as a shooting platform.

The descendant of King George IV said he wants a ‘lady of the house’ who is happy with £50,000 a month ‘pocket money’.