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Receptionist Charged After Taking 'Sophisticated' Revenge On Former Employer

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Receptionist Charged After Taking 'Sophisticated' Revenge On Former Employer

A receptionist has been charged after taking ‘sophisticated’ revenge on her former employer.

Lauren Arafat, 30, had been working at the The Potting Shed Spa in Betley when she was ‘let go’ by bosses for ‘erratic’ behaviour after just two days on the job. 

Although her time there was extremely brief, a court heard how Arafat deleted 211 appointments from the spa’s booking system in an act of revenge. 

After logging into the Phorest software system, she changed her name to another employee’s and wiped the data in less than an hour, despite telling the court she’s ‘hopeless with technology’. 

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Speaking at Leeds Crown Court, Andrew Picken, prosecuting, said: "Sam Pearce, the director of the company, had built the business up for nine years. 

Lauren Arafat took revenge on her former employer. Credit: MEN Media
Lauren Arafat took revenge on her former employer. Credit: MEN Media

“She interviewed Ms Arafat in May 2019 for a receptionist job and trained her on the Phorest software system, which took place on May 30, 2019. A profile was set up for the defendant on that and she started work on June 1.

"Her second shift was on June 1, 2019. She behaved erratically and there were a number of issues resulting in the director having a staff meeting and ending her employment. 

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“She left the building and the director then cancelled appointments for the rest of the day as a result of the issues that arose.

"The defendant left, and then logged onto the system using her iPhone and deleted a number of appointments."

The Potting Shed Spa eventually had to close, although Picken said this wasn’t directly due to Arafat’s revenge. 

However, he did say that Pearce had to close the business for two days following the incident in order to deal with the missing appointments. 

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He added: "It is the Crown's case that that action caused irreparable damage. The director had to phone clients to rebook their appointment and find out whether others had been deleted."

Pearce gave a victim statement in court, describing how she suffered from PTSD from what she said was an ‘aggressive attack that breached privacy and her intention was to cause as much damage as possible’. 

Although Arafat made no comment, she pleaded guilty to an offence under section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act – unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing the operation of a computer.

Mitigating, Chloe Fordham said that Arafat had to drop out of occupational therapy training as the investigation continued, having also lost her law and teaching degrees. 

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Arafat has to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitation activity (MEN Media)
Arafat has to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitation activity (MEN Media)

She added: "I ask you [the judge] to take into account that she has been on the receiving end of a number of complaints made about her to institutions where she has been learning and working. 

“In response to the complaints, she has not retaliated or made the matter any worse, she has not sought to make problems in recent years for Sam Pearce. 

“She has had significant problems for what has happened to her already but the court can trust her not to commit further offences."

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Judge Simon Batiste ruled that Arafat’s cancelling of so many appointments ‘led to financial loss’ to the spa, adding that she was ‘clearly motivated by revenge’. 

He gave her ‘one chance’ to avoid jail, but only if she completes 250 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitation activity.

The former receptionist is also the subject of a five-year restraining order, meaning she is prohibited from contacting Pearce directly or indirectly for that period. 

Featured Image Credit: MEN Media

Topics: Crime, UK News

Daisy Phillipson
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