The ex-wife of a South Tyneside business boss tried to cancel his passport while he was on holiday with their children and is new partner.
Louise Begg, 44, even told police Nigel Begg, founder of Aspire Technology Solutions, was taking their three youngsters abroad without her consent - and after a barrage of calls, texts and emails, arranged for officers to intercept him in the airport.
An embarrassed Mr Begg managed to convince officers the trip was agreeed and went on holiday - but he was then stunned when he received a phone call from the authorities while in Turkey to advise him a bid had been made to cancel his passport.
Begg, of Westmorland Road, South Shields, admitted harassing her husband and was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 surcharge.
South Tynessie Magistrates’ Court were told Begg regretted her “drastic measures” and she told police she now feels like a fool.”
Paul Anderson, prosecuting said: “It’s quite an unusual case. They were obviously husband and wife, have three children, separated in 2013 and later got divorced.
“Mr Begg remarried and they have shared custody. Mr Begg started to receive unwanted emails and texts, not in relation to child care arrangements, containing false allegations against him.
“When he failed to respond, she pestered him by ringing him.
“Although he ignored the calls, this started to become draining after a while.
“He and his current wife arranged to take the children on holiday from Newcastle Airport on June 11.
“While they were in the departure lounge they were approached by police officers and Mr Begg was told his ex-wife had reported that he was taking the children abroad without her consent.”
He was able to show police text messages, which made it clear that Begg was aware and had consented to him taking the children on holiday.
Mr Anderson said: “While in Turkey, Mr Begg received a phone call from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs saying that an application had been made to cancel his passport.
“He became increasingly worried while trying to get things sorted and make sure he could come back home.
“He then got a text message from Begg which left him feeling deflated by her actions.”
He said: “Begg was interviewed by police, admitting that she had entered her ex-husband’s name and address on the lost passport website, because she had not wanted him to take the children away.
Mr Anderson added: “She accepted they had agreed he could take the children on holiday and thought her actions would stop him taking that flight. That’s what she was hoping to do.
“She said she’d rang his phone 20 times while he was at the airport. She said he’d sent her messages too, but had deleted them.
“She said she felt ashamed and a fool and regretted doing all of this.”
Mr Anderson added: “Mr Begg is not seeking to impose a restraining order. He wants what’s best for the children.”
Begg admitted harassing Nigel Begg, between June 10 and June 30, last year.
Duncan Emmerson, defending, said: “When the couple split, it seems that arrangements were amicable.
“The children’s father did actually take them away, not last year but the year before, and Mrs Begg was perfectly happy about that.
“She was provided full details of where they were going. He seemed very cagey last year about providing these details.
“It made her rather concerned. Perhaps in the cold light of day, overly concerned. This is where it spiralled out of control.
“She took drastic measures and she told police in due course that she now feels like a fool.
“It is very tragic that it’s ended up in the court forum. She is of impeccable character and has a responsible job.
“This was a rash decision she made because of misguided concerns.”
Business boss tells of airport drama
The ex-husband of Louise Begg has spoken of the moment he was stopped at Newcastle Airport by armed police officers.
Nigel Begg founded successful IT firm Aspire Technology Solutions in 2006 - and now employs more than 150 staff at sites across the North East and London.
The 46-year-old, who lives in Cleadon, said: “It’s been three years of constant abuse. This was just the icing on the cake.
“We had arranged to take the kids on holiday and she called the airport, saying I was trying to kidnap them and armed police came to the VIP lounge.
“By sheer luck, she had dropped the kids off and wished them a nice holiday, so I was able to show the police our text messages.
“She just rang the police to embarrass me in front of the kids.
“It later transpired that she had contacted the passport office and tried to cancel my passport.
“This put the children in danger of being left in Turkey without me if I didn’t have a passport.
“Luckily the office called me to ask why I wanted to cancel my passport while I was out of the country.”
He added: “She also had omitted my middle name, which the passport office thought was odd.
“It caused anguish and stress to me and the kids.
“It was more about them. I believe she was attempting to make me look incompetent in front of them, but ultimately she put the kids at risk.”
Mr Begg went on to say he believed the punishment would have been harsher had their roles been reversed.
He added: “I do believe that if a man was guilty of such atrocious harassment, he would have been dealt with more severely than a woman.
“I handed over details of 42 incidents of harassment and abuse to police.”