NewsNorthern Ireland

TV star Zoe Salmon goes to court to claw back £6,500 in unpaid rent

Northern IrelandBy Jim McDowell
Zoe Salmon who has had to go to court to claw back unpaid rent
Zoe Salmon who has had to go to court to claw back unpaid rent
Alex Bell
Alex Bell

Meet the two Belfast belles in the ‘Battle of the Beauties’ played out in a Belfast court this week.

In one corner was former Blue Peter TV presenter and ex-Miss Northern Ireland Queen of the catwalk Zoe Salmon.

In the other was supposed to be beauty and massage salon proprietor Alex Bell and her teeth-whitener husband Jonathan.

Except the Bells didn’t show in Court No. 4 at the city’s Laganside complex last Wednesday.

And Zoe Salmon, who was there, delivered a knock-out blow in the witness box.

She gave evidence under oath that she had rented a luxury apartment in the plush Victoria Square complex in Belfast to the Bells.

But, she told the judge, they hadn’t paid the rent for many months.

And that they ran up a whopping bill of £6,534 and 51 pence.

Filing her verdict, the judge ordered the Bells, in their absence, to pay the debt, and get out of Apartment 305, above the Fraser House stores in Victoria Square.

But there was another twist to the ‘Battle of the Beauties’ tale.

For the Sunday World has seen an e-mail to Apartment 305 owner Zoe Salmon which reads:

‘We’ve had a couple of reports regarding your apartment in Victoria Square from both other residents and the police.

‘I’m afraid it looks like your place is being used as a brothel.

‘Don’t be too alarmed, this is surprisingly common in city centre apartments and we have had to deal with lots of incidents like this.’

Zoe Salmon was ‘appalled’ when she read the e-mail.

Yesterday, we first of all rang the bell on Apartment 305 in the Victoria Square complex.

There was no reply.

Then we tracked down Alex Bell to her beauty and massage salon above a barber’s shop in Upper Queen Street, just round the corner from the City Hall in Belfast.

First, we put the court case judgement to her, and the outstanding amount of debt her and her husband Jonathan owed Zoe Salmon.

Mrs Bell, who appeared on the court case list No. 39 under her maiden name of Aleksandra Falarz, claimed the couple aimed to pay off the whole debt in three weeks’ time, by April 20, she said.

Asked why they had run up so much in arrears, she pointed to the upstairs salon and said that the business ‘hasn’t been going well’.

She also said she and her family would be out of the apartment ‘by Thursday or Friday of next week’.

But then when we put to her the contents of the e-mail about ‘residents and police’ reporting Apartment 305 was allegedly being used as a brothel, she point-blank denied it.

Arching her plucked eyebrows in disgust at such a claim, she declared:

 

“Are you serious?

 

“This is unbelievable. I live in the apartment with my partner and my five-year-old son.

 

“The only person that comes around is my mother-in-law.”

Alex also intimated that any ‘brothel’ claim may have referred to another apartment, but not number 305.

She said: “There is an apartment in this block which is very suspicious. Maybe that’s a brothel.”

However, she again flatly denied that there has ever been a brothel operating out of her rented accommodation.

Yesterday, Zoe Salmon could not be contacted for comment on Alex Bell’s claim that her debt will be repaid and she’s getting her apartment back.

But a friend of the former top TV presenter and ex-Miss NI told us: “Zoe will be hoping this is all true from the Bells.

“It’s been a nightmare for her, especially the court experience this week.

“She saw that apartment as being part of her pension scheme.

“And she is abhorred and angry that people went into it and ended up robbing her blind.”