Tom Meighan, the former Kasabian frontman, has pleaded guilty in court to assaulting his ex-fiance.
The news comes a day after it was announced that Meighan would be stepping down from Kasabian.
What was Tom Meighan charged with?
The former Kasabian singer appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on the morning of Tuesday 7 July, where he faced one charge of assault by beating on 9 April, earlier this year.
Meighan pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-fiancee, Vikki Ager, admitting to the court that the attack had taken place. The court heard that a child had witnessed the assault and contacted 999 to report the incident.
Prosecutor Naeem Valli said the “sustained assault” left Ms Ager with bruises to her knees, elbow, ankle and a “reddening around her neck”.
It was also communicated to the court that Meighan “smelt heavily of intoxicants” when he assaulted Ms Ager.
Mr Valli told the hearing that the child who made the 999 call “sounded panicked and afraid” and that in the background, the victim could be heard saying “get off me, get off me”.
The 39 year old singer had originally denied that the assault had taken place - but after watching CCTV video footage of the attack, he told police that he couldn’t watch any more because it was “horrible”.
Defending Meighan was Michelle Heeley QC, who told the court that he “offers his sincere apologies to the people he has let down and he has sought to address his offending behaviour.”
Ms Heeley had previously 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, however, dismissed this application after submissions from the PA news agency stated that a section 11 order banning the publication of a defendant’s address was “not enacted for the comfort and feelings of defendants.”
What did the judge say?
Sentencing Meighan was District Judge Nick Watson, who said, “Ms Ager has not made a statement to police and does not appear to support this prosecution. Of course, that choice does not mean I should treat this offence any less seriously.
“You knocked Ms Ager over on more than one occasion, and put your hands to her throat. You hit her in the face and pushed her into a hamster cage, which resulted in injury to her head.
“You threatened her with a wooden pallet. It seems you thought better of it, thankfully, and threw it down on the hot tub aggressively. Throughout most of the video she could be seen fighting you off.
“There are a number of things which make this offence more serious. A child was witness to this behaviour and she must have been frightened over what was happening. The police have been called before and there is evidence of previous abusive behaviour. Ms Ager says what happened was an isolated event.”
Meighan was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to the assault.
The judge said, “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.”
What has the rest of the band said?
A day before Meighan pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-fiancee, the official Kasabian Twitter account published a tweet announcing that he was leaving the band.
The band wrote, “Tom Meighan is stepping down from Kasabian by mutual consent. Tom has struggled with personal issues that have affected his behaviour for quite some time now and wants to concentrate all his energies on getting his life back on track. We will not be commenting further.”
Meighan later tweeted, “Following today’s announcement I just want 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.”
However, news of Meighan's court appearance has garnered backlash for the band and their statement.
Taking to Twitter, people criticised the band for writing a post that seemingly encouraged sympathy for the singer.
One person wrote, “Kasabian played a PR blinder yesterday, eh? Playing Tom Meighan’s departure up to do with “personal reasons”, the guy was flooded with well wishes from people no doubt assuming it was to do with mental health, addiction etc when in fact he’s a scummy woman beater.”
Another tweeted, “A bit s*** by @KasabianHQ leading us all to think #TomMeighan was having personal issues when all along he was assaulting a woman. What kind of band are you.”
“TW// assault. So Kasabian post a vague post about Tom Meighan so people feel sorry for him then a day later he pleads guilty to assaulting his ex-fiance?? F*** him and f*** that band,” wrote another.