'Silly' South Shields man targeted partner's boss after sex pest claim, court told

An irate South Tyneside man targeted his partner’s boss after it was suggested he was a sexual predator, a court was told.

Jobless Lee McFarlane, 33, threatened the shop manager online, warning if she ‘played with fire, she would get burnt’ – and visited her home.

But his antics, described as “silly” by a judge, backfired when she reported his worrying Facebook message to police.

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McFarlane, 33, of Bewick Street, Chichester, South Shields, also landed himself in hot water when he turned up at her property two days later.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

With no answer at her door, he damaged a car he believed was hers but belonged to a neighbour, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said: “The injured party is a manager who recruited the defendant’s partner as a sales assistant.

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“On August 6 last year, one of her other sales assistants reported that she was receiving messages of a sexual nature from the defendant.

“The manager advised her to block the defendant.”

Mrs Yanes Hellevik said the manager then received a friend request via McFarlane’s partner’s Facebook account.

On Sunday, August 8, he sent her a message which read, ‘You can play with fire, you’ll get burnt. You’ve brought this on yourself’, she said.

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And Mrs Yanes Hellevik added: “At 9pm, she heard knocking on her door and heard a voice which she believed to be the defendant’s, talking to another.

“She went upstairs, and she saw him outside, and after about ten minutes, he left.

“A neighbour then says that a bottle has been swung at his vehicle, breaking a window.”

McFarlane pleaded guilty to sending a grossly offensive communication and causing £300 of criminal damage.

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Charlton Carr, defending, said: “It seems to be an isolated incident. He took umbrage when accused of being a sexual predator.

“He took umbrage by going around to this lady’s house and damaging a car, but it wasn’t hers, it was a neighbour’s.

“There’s nothing on his record of this nature. He is seeking help for alcohol and depression.”

Deputy District Judge Anita Price fined McFarlane £180, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge, for the communication offence, and £80 for causing criminal damage.

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