Sabben-Clare's initial PR strategy.
The QC whose dog mauled a seal near Hammersmith Bridge initially tried to gag the press by instructing Schillings to prevent media outlets from naming her, it has emerged.
Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC of 7 King's Bench Walk was walking her dog off its leash near Hammersmith Bridge last Sunday afternoon when it attacked a seal popular with local residents for its antics, and which they had named 'Freddie Mercury'. The barrister, and others at the scene, tried to prise the dog off the wild animal. But the mauling left Freddie with a broken bone, dislocated flipper and joint, ligament and nerve damage.
The seal was taken to the Wildlife Hospital but had to be put down as a result of its injuries, and the attack led to people on social media calling for dog owners to exercise better control of their pets.
Sabben-Clare initially instructed reputation specialists Schillings to warn the press that identifying her would violate her right to privacy, according to Guido Fawkes.
But the Daily Mail ignored Schillings and printed Sabben-Clare's name anyway, along with pictures and, of course, the value of her home (£5.8million).
After the QC failed to stop the story, she opted to release a statement to the media instead: "I am heartbroken by this terrible accident. As an animal lover, I fully understand the dismay that has been expressed. I apologise unreservedly for what happened. In hindsight I wish, of course, that the dog had been on a lead but at the time that did not seem necessary."
She added: "I am hugely grateful to all those who helped at the scene. They were heroic. I left for my own safety and that of my dog, believing that there was nothing that I could do to help as the seal was being looked after by a vet and help had been called." The barrister made a donation to the Wildlife Hospital, which treated the seal, for the "wonderful work it does."
Sabben-Clare confirmed the police had been in contact with her but would not be taking any further action and that, following the precedent it set with a fox-beating QC, neither would the RSPCA.
"7 King's Bench Walk is deeply saddened by the death of a seal by the side of the Thames following an incident involving a self-employed member of Chambers," said a 7KBW spokesman. "This was a tragic accident which unfortunately resulted in the death of a lovely wild animal."
When asked about the QC instructing Schillings, the 7KBW spokesman said: "Please be aware that Rebecca took her own advice in relation to this matter."