Former Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan pushed his ex-fiancee’s head into a hamster cage and threatened her with a wooden pallet in front of a child, a court has heard.
The 39-year-old arrived at Leicester Magistrates’ Court this morning where he pleaded guilty to one charge of assault by beating on 9 April this year.
He was sentenced to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work for the assault on Vikki Ager.
The hearing was told Meighan “smelt heavily of intoxicants” as he assaulted Ms Ager and that a child witnessed the attack before calling 999 to say a “domestic incident was taking place”.
Prosecuting, Naeem Valli said the child “sounded panicked and afraid” while making the call and the victim could be heard saying “get off me, get off me”.
He added that police officers described Ms Ager as “visibly upset”, while Meighan was “uncooperative and aggressive”.
The court appearance comes just a day after Kasabian announced the singer’s shock departure from the band, releasing a statement saying he was dealing with “personal issues” and wanted to concentrate on “getting his life back on track”.
Meighan, of Narborough in Leicestershire, originally denied the assault had taken place but after watching video footage back, he told officers he could not watch any more of it because it was “horrible”.
As the CCTV footage was played in court, Meighan wiped his eyes with a tissue and held his head in his hands.
Ms Ager suffered bruising to her knees, left elbow, outer ankle and big toe as well as a reddening around the neck, the court was told.
Prosecutor Naeem Valli said the offence “could be argued to be relatively serious” – describing it as a “sustained assault”.
District Judge Nick Watson, sentencing Meighan, told the former Kasabian frontman: “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.”
He added that Meighan threatened Ms Ager with a wooden pallet before throwing it on a hot tub “aggressively” and 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 judge said.
“The police have been called before and there is evidence of previous abusive behaviour. Ms Ager says what happened was an isolated event.”
The judge added that as well as hurting Ms Ager, Meighan let down his band members and fans, and said he has “a problem with alcohol”.
“They will be shocked about what you did that night,” Mr Watson said.
Defending Meighan, Michelle Heeley QC told the court he “offers his sincere apologies to the people he has let down and he has sought to address his offending behaviour”.
Following Kasabian’s statement yesterday, Meighan reassured fans he was okay, writing on social media: “Following today’s announcement I just wanted 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.”
Kasabian was formed by Meighan, songwriter Serge Pizzorno, bass player Chris Edwards and lead guitarist Chris Karloff while they were still at school in the 1990s.
Karloff left the band in 2006 due to “artistic and creative differences”.
Meighan’s departure leaves guitarist Pizzorno and Edwards as the only remaining founding members, with current drummer Ian Matthews joining the group in 2004.
It is not clear whether the band will look to replace Meighan as lead vocalist.
Following an extended break, the Leicester band had been due to play a huge return gig in their home city last month.
In an interview with Sky News just a few days before the show should have taken place, Meighan said they were “absolutely brokenhearted” when the coronavirus pandemic meant they had to cancel.
However, he said the band was “solid” and had plans for a seventh album.