Ex-Kasabian singer Tom Meighan avoids jail for assaulting former fiancee

Band’s one-time front man ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work following guilty plea

Former Kasabian singer Tom Meighan leaving Leicester Magistrates’ Court. He earlier held his head in his hands as CCTV footage of  the incident was played in court. Photograph: PA

Former Kasabian singer Tom Meighan leaving Leicester Magistrates’ Court. He earlier held his head in his hands as CCTV footage of the incident was played in court. Photograph: PA

 

Former Kasabian front man Tom Meighan has narrowly avoided jail after pleading guilty to a “sustained attack” on his former fiancee.

Meighan (39) appeared at Leicester magistrates court on Tuesday where he was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work for attacking Vikki Ager.

The court heard that Ms Ager was hit in the face, shoved, pushed over repeatedly and threatened with a wooden pallet during the April 9th assault.

Video footage of the incident showed Meighan striking Ms Ager and dragging her by the ankles into the back garden of their home, causing her multiple injuries.

District Judge Nick Watson told the singer: “I could have sent you to prison for this” as he ordered him to carry out unpaid work for what he described as a “sustained attack” that was a “violation of the trust and security that should exist between partners”.

The judge said Ms Ager had not made a statement to police and “does not appear to support this prosecution”. But he added that police had been called to the address before and there was “evidence of previous abusive behaviour”.

He added: “I need to take account of the fact that not only did you hurt Ms Ager, you also let down many people – band members and those who love your music. They will be shocked about what you did that night. I have been told that you have recognised that you have a problem with alcohol.”

The prosecutor, Naeem Valli, said the attack was witnessed by a child who called 999, sounding “panicked and afraid” while Ms Ager could be heard saying “get off me, get off me” in the background.

Meighan, whose departure from Kasabian was announced on Monday, “smelt heavily of intoxicants” during the assault and was “unco-operative and aggressive” to officers when they arrived, added Mr Valli.

The singer initially denied the assault but, after being shown the video footage, told officers he could not watch it any further because it was “horrible”. Meighan, who is known for his swaggering on-stage persona, wiped his eyes and held his head in his hands as CCTV footage of the incident was played to the court on Tuesday.

Ms Ager suffered bruising to her knees, left elbow, outer ankle and big toe as well as a reddening around the neck, which she confirmed to police was as a result of the assault.

Counsel for the singer, Michelle Heeley QC, told the court he “offers his sincere apologies to the people he has let down and he has sought to address his offending behaviour”.

Ms Heeley had made an application to the court for Meighan’s address to be withheld from the public, quoting “high-profile cases such as Caroline Flack who committed suicide in similar circumstances”.

The judge dismissed the application after submissions from the PA Media news agency said a section 11 order banning the publication of a defendant’s address was “not enacted for the comfort and feelings of defendants”.

Meighan’s court appearance came a day after Kasabian announced he was “stepping down from Kasabian by mutual consent”.

Kasabian reaction

In a statement the band said: “Tom has struggled with personal issues that have affected his behaviour for quite some time and now wants to concentrate all his energies on getting his life back on track. We will not be commenting further.”

Meighan later wrote on Twitter: “Following today’s announcement I just wanted to let you all know that I am doing well. I’m in a really good place now. Thanks for all your love and support. I’ll be seeing you all very soon.”

Meighan’s departure from Kasabian leaves guitarist Serge Pizzorno and bassist Chris Edwards as the only remaining founding members, with current drummer Ian Matthews joining the group in 2004. – Guardian