A former banker who stole his girlfriend’s identity to plunder thousands of pounds from her bank account has been allowed to walk free from court.
Rugby coach Richard Meade secretly posed online as his former ballerina partner to steal her cash during a sustained campaign of bullying against her.
Controlling Meade, 38, followed the dance teacher and bombarded her with thousands of messages as he tried to control her life for almost two years.
At Alloa Sheriff Court, Meade was ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work in the community as a direct alternative to a jail term.
Sheriff ‘did not accept’ Meade’s evidence
Sheriff Bowie – who found Meade guilty after trial – said: “This is a matter in which I heard evidence and I accepted the evidence of your former partner and other witnesses.
“I did not accept your position,” he told Meade, who continued to protest his innocence to social workers who compiled a background report upon him.
Meade was found guilty of domestic coercion and fraud after a trial at Perth Sheriff Court.
The case was moved to Alloa for sentencing.
The trial was told Meade had falsely used the dance teacher’s details to spend £4,000 treating himself to mobile phones and other items online.
Meade repeatedly turned up at Perth Theatre, a Perth secondary school and other places his lover worked and made malicious allegations about her to employers.
He claimed during the trial items had been bought for him as gifts but the sheriff told him his version of events lacked credibility and found him guilty of domestic coercion.
Convicted of multiple charges
Meade, Kinmond Drive, Perth, was found guilty of engaging in a course of behaviour towards the woman at various locations between 1 April 2019 and 9 December last year.
He was convicted of “regulating and controlling her contact with her family” during incidents around Perth, Dundee and Crieff.
He was convicted of turning up at places including Perth Theatre and Perth High School and “making malicious allegations about her.”
The sheriff found him guilty of repeatedly turning up uninvited at her workplaces, following her on numerous occasions, and threatening to remove her son.
That charge also found Meade had purchased goods on credit using her details and, in doing so, had accrued an unknown level of debt.
He was also convicted of fraud after opening an account in his former girlfriend’s name with online retailer Very and buying mobile phones and equipment on credit between October 2017 and July 2019.
His victim told the court the first she became aware of the online shopping account was when she received an invoice from the Liverpool-based company.
Giving evidence, Meade tried to play down his abusive campaign but accepted claiming to her bosses at the Fit 4 Less gym in Perth she did not pay tax.
Meade said he reported the PAYE allegation because the gym had refused to give him a refund for his membership.
“This was a great concern of mine because I was working in the financial industry,” he told the court.
He also claimed a mobile phone seized by police when he was arrested was not bought by himself on credit using her name but was a gift from his partner.
Defence made ‘no sense’
Sheriff Bowie rejected his version of events and said: “This credit account was set up linked to Mr Meade’s telephone number, email address and bank account.
“When arrested, Mr Meade was in possession of an iPhone linked to that account.
“The complainer was not aware of this account and the first she heard of it was when she received a letter telling her she owed a sum of money.
“I have to say Mr Meade’s explanation for the credit account makes no sense to me at all.”
The trial heard that Mr Meade’s former partner was left in tears after he showed up at her workplaces at the school and theatre, where she carried out dance lessons.
A witness told the court Meade sat in his parked car outside the school, and left the woman “significantly upset” when he approached her at the theatre.
Sheriff Bowie said: “When you combine the various conducts together, it does take on an offence under section one of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act.
Meade, of Kinmond Drive, Perth, was made subject to a non-harassment order, which prevents him approaching or contacting his ex-partner for two years.