Nightclub owner Anthony Mead sent his wife’s £15,000 collection of designer clothes up in flames after suspecting her of infidelity because she was sending so many text messages.
Anthony Mead, 58, doused the garments in petrol and watched them burn as his children looked on.Mead became enraged after a family day out in which Sutheera Ashley-Mead, 50, kept sending text messages. Convinced that she was contacting a lover, he asked his wife of seven years to leave their £945,000 home in Mersea Island, Essex.Mrs Ashley-Mead refused, prompting Mead to storm into a bedroom and grab armful upon armful of designer dresses and tops before throwing petrol over them.
The couple’s three children watched as Mead lit the clothes then sat on a bench to watch them burn.He remained there until police turned up to arrest him. The fire caused £15,000 worth of damage and Mead, who owns Roberts nightclub in Colchester, admitted arson.Paul Torn, mitigating, told Colchester magistrates’ court yesterday that his client had been under pressure. He said: “The family had a day out and during the day Mrs Ashley-Mead had been on her phone texting quite a lot. It raised suspicion. It appeared that there was another person in the relationship.
“Mr Mead saw the petrol canister which had been left by a bench and it demonstrates how very hurt he was that he did what he did. He had been under a great amount of stress.”The couple have separated since the incident but the court was told yesterday that Mrs Ashley-Mead did not want her husband punished. Speaking at the family home yesterday, she denied having an affair.She said: “People can believe what they want to believe. He saw some texts and he assumed that is what it was but there was no affair.”She added that her husband had since moved out of the family home on the Colne estuary.
She said she did not want to talk about the night of the designer clothes bonfire, saying it was “a bit of a blur now”.The five-bedroom property where the couple lived for 13 years is on the market.Mrs Ashley-Mead, who is originally from Thailand, claimed that her husband has been living in his nightclub in Colchester since their split.She said: “We did have a lovely life together; he drives around in a Ferrari worth more than £200,000 and we have three children.
“I am being strong now for the children but there is no way we are getting back together — it’s going to be a divorce.”District Judge John Woolard gave Mead a 12-month suspended prison sentence and ordered him to pay costs of £85.Mead was spared paying up to £15,000 compensation because Mrs Ashley-Mead had not asked for any. – Telegraph