After her Tinder date ended their brief relationship, a furious young farmer scrawled the words 't**t and c**t' on his garden gate and filled his car’s exhaust pipe with apples.
A court heard how Melanie Meigh, who was 19 at the time of the offence, spray-painted the obscenities on Jack McMahon's car with spray paint before making several abusive phone calls – mockingly asking him if he liked apples and hinting that something had happened to his car.
When Mr McMahon rushed home to find out what had happened, he found Meigh on his doorstep and she warned him that family were “on their way up from London”.
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It later emerged that she had also stolen a passport, tools and about £12 in cash belonging to the victim.
At Warrington Magistrates Court yesterday, Meigh admitted four offences of criminal damage, three of theft, and one of harassment.
Arron Smith, prosecuting, told the court that the offences were committed in August 2022, shortly after Mr McMahon and Meigh had met through Tinder.
“He had met Miss Meigh on a dating app and had known her for about three weeks,' Mr Smith said.
“They were not in a relationship but he had been intimate with her. He decided he did not want a relationship going forward”.
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The court heard how Mr McMahon had asked the defendant to leave his property in the early hours of August 12 last year, but after a friend came to pick her up he changed his mind and agreed to let her stay.
“The next day,” said Mr Smith, “he went to work but prior to leaving there was an argument with Miss Meigh. She said his house was going to get smashed up and she added: ‘I hope you like your car’.
“Later on at work he was informed that a black Nissan pickup truck was outside his property.," Mr Smith added. "He later realised that the damage had been caused”.
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The victim arrived home to find his car covered in spray paint, apples crammed up its exhaust pipe, and offensive words sprayed onto the fence and gate of his home.
In mitigation defence lawyer Stuart Flood told the court: “There is a bit of immaturity here… it was a very brief relationship as you have heard. I am not sure it is revenge, maybe that is too strong a word for it. But there is a lot of pettiness here”.
He said the vandalism and the threats were “all fairly minor offences”.
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He added: “There was some choice language on the fencing and apples in the exhaust and some theft from the property when she was staying there”.
Mr Flood also told the court that the defendant was seven months pregnant, “not by Mr McMahon but by a previous young man whom she is no longer in a relationship with”.
Magistrate Andrew Pope said that it was to Meigh’s credit that she had pleaded guilty.
However, he added, “painting things and stuffing apples and bananas up a car exhaust was happening when I was 13 or 14 years old”.
Meigh was given a community order, a £120 fine and told to pay £100 compensation. She is currently awaiting the results of a DNA test to confirm the paternity of her unborn child.
A 24-year-old man who was arrested alongside Meigh denied any wrongdoing and will face trial in May.
If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247
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