Politics

MP accused of making acid threat to friend of her companion, court hears | UK news

An MP has been accused of threatening to use acid in opposition to a girl she believed to be in a relationship with her companion, a court has heard.

Claudia Webbe, 56, allegedly grew to become “obsessed” with Michelle Merritt due to her friendship with the Leicester East MP’s companion, Lester Thomas.

Webbe additionally threatened to reveal bare images and movies she supposedly had of Merritt to her household, Westminster magistrates court heard on Monday.

Webbe, who was elected as a Labour MP however has since had the whip withdrawn, denies the cost.

Susannah Stevens, prosecuting, stated: “The reason for the harassment appeared to be the fact that Ms Merritt was friends with Lester Thomas and this was an issue for the defendant, Ms Webbe.

“The harassment initially took the form of telephone calls that were made by Ms Webbe to Ms Merritt.”

Made from a withheld quantity, the calls had been silent and of a brief length, the court was informed. They tended to happen when Merritt was with Thomas.

Stevens stated: “When [Merritt] answered the call, the person on the other end would not respond and would then hang up.”

In October 2018 , Merritt obtained a name from a quantity that might be seen. She put the quantity into the search engine Google, and found it belonged to Webbe, the court was informed.

“She saw this because the number was available on the internet because Claudia Webbe is a Labour MP and the phone number appears on Labour literature and also a Leicester council website.”

A friend of Merritt requested Webbe to chorus from making calls, however on 31 March 2019, the harassment escalated, the court was informed, when she spoke to Merritt.

“Indeed, the crown say that Claudia Webbe was in such a state during this call that not only did she query the nature of the contact and refuse to accept that Ms Merritt and Lester Thomas were just friends. She then went on to say that Ms Merritt was a ‘slag’ and she should ‘be acid’,” Stevens stated.

“The defendant further threatened Ms Merritt that naked photographs and videos of her would be sent to Ms Merritt’s children.

“The court will hear that Michelle was, perhaps not surprisingly, caused considerable distress by this call,” Stevens stated.

Merritt was so involved that she known as the police and reported the incident however requested that legal proceedings shouldn’t be pursued, the prosecution alleged.

The police spoke to Webbe in April 2019 and stated she should not have any additional contact with Merritt.

The prosecution alleges that decision knowledge exhibits there Webbe made an additional 16 calls to Merritt after April 2019.

Webbe, from Islington, north London, stood within the dock sporting a black go well with, to affirm her title, date of start and handle, earlier than sitting subsequent to her solicitor because the case in opposition to her was opened. She denies a single depend of harassment.

Webbe entered the Commons in December 2019, profitable the seat previously held by Keith Vaz, the Labour veteran who retired from parliament within the wake of a scandal. She was a councillor in Islington between 2010 and 2018 and was a member of Labour’s ruling nationwide govt committee.

Earlier in her career, she was a political adviser to the then London mayor Ken Livingstone. The trial, which is due to final sooner or later in entrance of chief Justice of the Peace Paul Goldspring, continues.

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