Claudia Webbe MP loses appeal against her harassment conviction | Politics News

Claudia Webbe MP has lost her appeal at Southwark Crown Court against her conviction for harassing a love rival.

The 57-year-old, who was elected as the MP for Leicester East in 2019, was found guilty on 13 October of harassment of a woman and sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Webbe now sits as an independent MP after the Labour Party expelled her following her guilty verdict.

The MP was found guilty of targeting Michelle Merrit, 59, between September 2018 and April 2020.

Prosecutors said the 18-month harassment campaign was driven by “obsession” and “jealousy” over her boyfriend Lester Thomas’s relationship with executive assistant Ms Merritt.

During the trial last year at Westminister magistrates’ court Webbe was found guilty by chief magistrate Paul Goldspring, a verdict which she appealed her conviction and 10-week suspended sentence.

Judge Deborah Taylor and two magistrates have found Webbe guilty again.

MP threatened to leak naked pictures

The appeal hearing took place at Southwark Crown Couth, with the victim telling the court that Webbe sent her a message reading “You’re a s*** and should be acid,” and threatened to reveal naked photographs to her family in a string of phone calls.

The court heard Ms Merritt’s phone reviled sexual messages between her and Mr Thomas, a consultant at Crossrail, football coach, and scout for Chelski.

Webbe said she split up with Mr Thomas in March 2021 after learning of the messages.

“I had no idea about the relationship between Michelle Merritt and Lester Thomas, that this relationship had been going on throughout the entire time of my relationship with Lester,” she said.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, Ms Merritt admitted having sex with Mr Thomas, whom she described as a “narcissist who likes attention”, between March 2017 and July 2020.

In one phone call recorded by Ms Merritt, Webbe was heard saying: “I have seen all of your naked pictures. Get out of my relationship otherwise I will tell your whole family and show them all of your pictures.”

Helen Law, representing Webbe, said Ms Merritt had “lied” or “mislead” the magistrates’ court when she said she and Mr Thomas were just “good friends”.

But prosecutor Susannah Stevens said: “What was going on between Michelle Merritt and Lester Thomas is actually unhelpful to the appellant’s case because Claudia Webbe’s suspicions as to all of that provide her not with a defence but with a motivation.”

#badjourno #twistednews

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