It’s probably Twitter’s most expensive spat. Yet the infamous feud between Katie Hopkins and Jack Monroe didn’t need to end in a High Court ruling.
Nor did it need to cause the loss of a five-bedroom family home, a landmark legal ruling and £24,000 in damages.
In fact, the entire matter could’ve been settled for a fraction of that – a comparatively modest £5,000 – had the ex-Apprentice star swiftly swallowed her pride.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. And, earlier this week, Hopkins, 42, was denied an appeal – meaning the case is officially over.
But how did their thoroughly-modern drama manage to spin so spectacularly out of control? Here we look back at the spat in stages.
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It all started in May 2015, when Hopkins – who boasts a Twitter following of 850,000 – wrongly implied that Monroe had defaced war statues.
She wrote: “Scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?”
Annoyed, Monroe replied: “I have NEVER ‘scrawled on a memorial’. Brother in the RAF. Dad was a Para in the Falklands. You’re a piece of s***.”
Hopkins then claimed it was a case of mistaken identity – and that she actually intended the message for Laurie Penny.
Monroe then asked Hopkins to apologise, saying: “Dear @KTHopkins, public apology + £5K to migrant rescue and I won’t sue. It’ll be cheaper for you and v satisfying for me.”
Hopkins deleted the tweet, but Monroe decided to sue for libel.
Monroe claimed Hopkins’ tweets caused "serious harm" to her reputation.
The food writer, who also campaigns on poverty issues, claimed the tweet meant she had either vandalised a war memorial, and "thereby desecrated the memory of those who fought for her freedom and had committed a criminal act", or that she "condoned or approved" of the criminal vandalisation of a war memorial.
Jonathan Price, for Hopkins, told the judge in written argument that her case was that "this relatively trivial dispute arose and was resolved on Twitter in a period of several hours".
He argued that "no lasting harm, and certainly no serious harm", to Monroe’s reputation resulted from it.
Of course, the court ruled in Monroe’s favour – marking a legal landmark for social media users.
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Several months later, Hopkins took the case to the Court of Appeal.
But, she was refused permission to appeal on all grounds by Lady Justice Sharp.
In her verdict, Ms Sharp said: “In my opinion, none of the grounds raised has a real prospect of success, and there is no other compelling reason why an appeal should be heard.
"The application for permission to appeal is therefore refused.”
The controversial columnist is now forced to sell her five-bedroom home in Exeter.
It means the author and her family – including her husband and three children – will downsize in order to bankroll the payout.
Specifically, this includes £24,000 in damages to Monroe, plus £107,000 in Monroe’s legal costs.
Monroe, from Essex, said: “I’m extremely relieved that this long and exhausting case is finally over, as the practical, mental and emotional work involved has had an enormously detrimental impact on my work over the last two years.
“I feel I can finally move on. I found it bizarre that her lawyers would even consider that she might have grounds for appeal, considering she didn’t even turn up to the trial.
“I am proud to be part of a landmark legal case that demonstrates the accountability we must take for the consequences of our words, even on social media. I’m sober now, so will be celebrating by laying a new kitchen floor, and this whole thing to bed at last.”