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Reading Magistrates' Court: man hounded from home by Thatcham women's hate campaign





A MAN was wrongly accused of rape and paedophilia and hounded from his home – all due to a vicious online hate campaign.

The victim was too terrified to leave the house, became suicidal and eventually had to relocate to a secret address.

On Thursday, June 17, his tormentors, one of whom had said “let’s paint a target on this paedophile rapist’s back”, received fines and compensation orders running into hundreds of pounds.

court (48556188)
court (48556188)

The ringleader, 44-year-old Kerry Bourne of Boscawen Way, Thatcham, narrowly avoided being sent straight to prison, receiving a suspended sentence instead.

Alongside her in the dock at Reading Magistrates’ Court were Ashleigh Meager and Siobhan Meager.

Rhiannon Winter, prosecuting, said Ms Bourne had wanted revenge on the man for personal reasons and had made accusations of rape and paedophilia against him.

She added: “Police investigated and found there was no further action to be taken in relation to these offences.

“As part of the investigation, a recording was produced in which she said she would lie to police about him.”

Infuriated at the outcome, Ms Bourne began a vicious smear campaign on Facebook, posting her victim’s name and photograph alongside the allegations, while inviting people to post ‘likes’.

It quickly went viral, with other Facebook users responding with comments such as: “He’ll get what’s coming to him if I see him,” and other threats of violence.

Ashleigh Meager, aged 24, of London Road, Thatcham, and 37-year-old Siobhan Meager, of Beech Avenue, Pinehurst, Swindon, then joined the hate campaign, the court heard.

Siobhan Meager posted: “Let’s paint a target on this paedophile rapist’s back... filthy, dirty scumbag ****;... no one is safe, including children” before encouraging all and sundry to share and spread the accusations, the court heard.

Both she and Ashleigh Meager posted the victim’s image alongside comments such as “He’s still loose... lock your kids and mums up.”

Ms Winter said: “These offences had a significant impact on the victim.”

She said he had become depressed, suicidal and afraid to leave his house.

Eventually, he had to relocate to a secret address, the court heard.

All three women admitted sending an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message by a public communications network on or before September 29 last year.

Gianpaolo Damiani, defending all three, invited magistrates to read pre-sentence reports and said: “The three of them need some intervention from probation regarding their thinking skills.

“The comments were made out of frustration; they fully accept their responsibility.”

Magistrates told Ms Bourne she had set out to cause her victim as much emotional harm as possible and had shown little or no remorse.

She was sentenced to nine weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

In addition, she was ordered to complete 80 hours unpaid community work and up to 30 days of rehabilitation activity.

Ms Bourne was also required to pay £85 costs, a statutory victim services surcharge of £128 and £250 compensation to her victim.

Both remaining defendants had shown some remorse, said magistrates.

Ashleigh Meager and Siobhan Meager were both made subject to a community order with 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 250 hours unpaid community work.

Each was required to pay £85 costs, a statutory victim services surcharge of £95 and £125 in compensation to their victim.

Finally, all three were made subject to a two-year restraining order preventing them from contacting him directly or indirectly or from posting anything about him on social media.



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