‘It’s terrifying’ – defence’s case backed up by emergency call from neighbour
The transcript of a 999 call – made by Claudia Webbe’s neighbour at the same time as Webbe was supposedly harassing her partner’s girlfriend – shows the ‘terrifying’ ordeal the MP was undergoing at the time Michelle Merritt phoned her and recorded the call.
Skwawkbox revealed the existence of the recorded 999 call, presented as evidence by the defence last week during Webbe’s appeal which – to the outrage of black lawyers and other jurists – was rejected by a panel at Southwark Crown Court. But the neighbour’s words seen in full reveal how harrowing the incident was:
Umm I’ve heard her scream before but it’s been a while, don’t know if-
How long has she been screaming?
A good like ten minutes but it’s like, it’s terrifying- Like I can hear her going “LET GO OF ME” and like, I dunno it’s just- like she’s actually an MP, that’s why I’m just worried about- like I’ve never known them to do this I can try I-
Cos I can literally hear them, they’ve woken me up. I’m sorry.
Ok, d’you know erm any of their names?
Erm Claudia Webbe
The court heard Merritt’s recording of her call to Webbe, during which Merritt sounded calm but Webbe appeared to be fending off her partner Lester Thomas while trying to sustain a conversation in which Merritt, according to the defence, ‘gaslit’ Webbe by asking her ‘Why don’t you trust Lester?’, when Merritt was engaged in a prolonged and frequent sexual relationship with him.
Despite this – and despite accepting that Merritt had lied repeatedly about her relationship with Thomas – and the prosecution’s admission that evidence withheld by the Met Police constituted significant mitigation, the court decided to accept Merritt’s claims and reject Claudia Webbe’s evidence. The Society of Black Lawyers has condemned the ‘historic and institutional racism’ of the appeal outcome. The judge did, however, reject Merritt’s claim Webbe had threatened her physically and reduced Webbe’s sentence to little more than a speeding penalty. However, despite the fact that earlier ‘mainstream’ misreporting had led to two plots against Ms Webbe’s life, the right-wing media continued to report the ‘acid threat’ as if it had not been debunked.
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