A sex therapist who locked himself in his bedroom and ‘refused to leave’ until his former lover promised him a share of his £1.2m house is now fighting him in court.
Counsellor and sexual health adviser Thain Kleinhentz says that he and Mark Harrison had a 20-year-long ‘loving relationship’ during which they moved in together, acquired two cats and agreed to share ownership of a £1.2m west London house which they both regarded as ‘their home.’
Mr Harrison however says that while they were lovers, they never had a serious monogamous relationship and Mr Kleinhentz was technically just a ‘tenant,’ paying rent at the house which he himself owned outright.
The pair are now facing off in court, with Mr Harrison claiming Mr Kleinhentz applied ‘illegitimate pressure’ on him to hand over a £250,000 stake in the detached three-bedroom property they shared in Margravine Gardens, Fulham.
Mr Harrison says he was ‘bullied’ into signing a ‘homemade’ contract by, amongst other things, Mr Kleinhentz sulking in his bedroom until the promise was made.
Mr Kleinhentz admits that he ‘locked his room’ at the house the two men shared and ‘refused to leave until such time as substantial financial provision had been made.’
Counsellor and sexual health adviser Thain Kleinhentz (left) says that he and Mark Harrison (right) had a 20-year-long ‘loving relationship’ and that Mr Harrison had promised him a share of a £1.2m west London house when it was sold as they both regarded as ‘their home’
But he insists he is rightfully due at least a £250,000 share of the value of the house – which was in Mr Harrison’s sole name – and that Mr Harrison had a ‘moral obligation’ to give it to him.
Judge Robin Vos at London’s High Court heard that Mr Kleinhentz and Mr Harrison met and became lovers in 1991 and subsequently shared a number of properties, owning cats together and having a sexual relationship which continued over a number of years.
They fell out in 2011 while living in the house in Margravine Gardens, Fulham, which was bought in Mr Harrison’s sole name using money given to him by his father.
Mr Kleinhentz moved out of the property after an incident during which he ‘placed a lock on the door of the room he occupied…and refused to vacate the property until such time as Mark made substantial financial provision for him’.
About two weeks later, the pair signed a ‘homemade settlement agreement’ stating that Mr Kleinhentz was entitled to £250,000 when Mr Harrison had enough money to pay him.
Mr Harrison sold the house in Margravine Gardens for over £1.2m in 2015 and Mr Klienhentz is now arguing that at that point the contract entitled him to a £250,000 share of the proceeds of sale.
Edward Bennion-Pedley, for Mr Kleinhentz, told the judge: ‘Thain and Mark lived together for 20 years.
‘On Thain’s case he and Mark were committed and loving partners, albeit in an open relationship.
The home in Fulham which is owned by Mark Harrison and sold for £1,212,500 in May 2015
‘Thain and Mark entered into a homemade settlement agreement pursuant to which Thain was to receive £250,000.
‘Thain says that he and Mark later agreed that the property would be sold and that Thain would receive his money out of the sale proceeds.
‘In May 2015, the house sold for £1,212,500. But he did not pay Thain any money.
‘Thain’s status is relegated to tenant and the relationship is denied,’ he said, asking the judge to order Mr Harrison to pay up.
But Mr Harrison told the judge the house was all his and that he doesn’t owe Mr Kleinhentz a penny.
He denied that the pair ever had a committed romantic relationship, adding that the contract he signed should be regarded as ‘unenforceable’ as it was made under circumstances of ‘economic duress’ when he was ’emotionally vulnerable’.
In his defence to the action, Mr Harrison says he and Mr Kleinhentz ‘were never in a committed, exclusive relationship or for the avoidance of doubt a relationship that could properly be termed an open relationship.’
They ‘did not habitually share a bed or a bedroom’ during the time they lived together, he claims.
From the witness box, he told the judge: ‘There was a relationship of sorts.. I did care about him. We had sex regularly over a period of years and lived together.
‘But if I were to have a boyfriend, my idea wouldn’t be to have him sleeping with lots of other people. Most people’s idea of having a boyfriend would be two people being together.
‘He was my best friend. Flatmate is a rather sterile term for it, but I suppose factual.’
The former lovers are currently battling it out at the High Court in London (pictured)
In his defence to the action, Mr Harrison also stated that Mr Kleinhentz made threats to reveal secrets to his father that he wished to keep hidden if he didn’t sign over the £250,000.
Mr Kleinhentz ‘denies making the threats alleged,’ his barrister said.
Mr Bennion-Pedley told the judge: ‘Mark says that he only executed the agreement because he was bullied into it.
‘Mark says that Thain abused the trust and confidence he reposed in him.’
Mr Kleinhentz denies this but says that Mr Harrison ‘owed him a moral obligation to make provision’.
Denying that locking himself in his room amounted to applying ‘illegitimate pressure’ the barrister said: ‘There is nothing illegitimate about asserting that Mark was under a moral obligation to Thain or in Thain refusing to move out.
‘Very naturally he wished to protect his property interests.’
Challenging Mr Harrison’s denial of the pair having a long-term romantic relationship, the barrister pointed to cards and presents they received from friends and family when they moved into new houses together, including a bedspread.
‘These are joint cards to a couple when they move…those are gifts that you give to a couple when they set up home together,’ he said.
He also told the judge that Mr Harrison had sent Mr Kleinhentz a postcard while he was away from their home, telling him: ‘I’m really going to miss you, all my love, Your Puppy.’
‘Thain has kept all these cards you sent to each other for 20 years,’ the barrister told Mr Harrison.
Mr Kleinhentz, in evidence, told Mr Harrison: ‘You know we were in love. You know we had a relationship. I never rented from you, Mark.’
Mr Harrison denied his claim.
The judge has now reserved his judgement in the case, to be given at a later date.