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Labour MP Claudia Webbe found guilty of harassment



Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe, 56, was found guilty on Wednesday of harassing a female friend of her partner, Lester Thomas.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard she made a string of threatening calls to 59-year-old Michelle Merritt between September 1 2018 and April 26 last year because she was jealous of her friendship with her boyfriend.

Following the verdict, Ms Webbe said she was “deeply shocked” at the outcome of the trial and would appeal.

She said: “I am innocent and will appeal this verdict. As I said in court and repeat now, I have never threatened violence nor have I ever harassed anyone.”

The trial heard the MP made numerous short, silent telephone calls from a withheld number, before hanging up.

In March 2019 Webbe spoke to her victim, threatened to use acid against her, and threatened that naked photographs and videos of the victim would be shared. There is no suggestion the images were real.

Despite being asked to stop by police she continued, making at least 15 further calls after April 2019.

A final threatening call in April 2020 was recorded by the victim when Webbe again made the threat to release naked images, prompting police to interview her.

Specialist Prosecutor Lisa Rose of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “Claudia Webbe’s persistent nuisance behaviour caused considerable distress and alarm to her victim who became genuinely concerned for her safety.

“Webbe told police she did not appreciate the calls were unwanted or causing distress. However the prosecution case was that the police had issued her with a clear warning about her conduct.

“No-one should have to endure this sort of harassment. We are determined to bring perpetrators to justice and help protect victims.”

Webbe’s lawyer, Raj Chada, head of criminal defence at social justice law firm Hodge Jones & Allen added: “We will be appealing this unjust verdict. The recording of the call Ms Webbe made has been taken out of context. We are sure that Ms Webbe will be vindicated at an appeal.”

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