Woman sacked by The Potting Shed Spa in Batley deletes appointments in revenge

Laure Arafat
Lauren Arafat was given a community order. Credit: MEN Media

A woman who lost her job at a West Yorkshire beauty spa admitted deleting hundreds of appointments in an act of revenge.

Lauren Arafat was dismissed from her role as a receptionist at The Potting Shed in Batley in June 2019 after displaying "erractic" behaviour.

But, after her departure, she logged back into the company computers to delete 211 customer appointments.

The 30-year-old appeared at Leeds Crown Court charged with an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.

The court heard she was was given the job in May 2019.

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

"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 spa was based at Batley's Redbrick Mill. Credit: Google

Within the space of half an hour, she had deleted 211 appointments, which could not be restored.

Some of the appointments were removed under another employee's name, the court was told.

Mr Picken said: "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."

The Potting Shed Spa went on to close, although Mr Picken said the prosecution could not prove whether it was Arafat's actions that caused it to fail.

In a victim personal statement, spa owner Sam Pearce said she had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Arafat's actions, which she said were an "aggressive attack that breached privacy and her intention was to cause as much damage as possible."

She added that since June 2019, she had felt unable to trust anyone and was in a "living nightmare."

Arafat pleaded guilty to intending to or recklessly impairing the operation of a computer.

Mitigating, Chloe Fordham, told the court that Arafat lost her law and teaching degree and "letters after her name" as a result of the investigation. Ms Fordham said that following an appeal those had been reinstated.

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

Judge Simon Batiste said that he did not find that Arafat's actions led to the failure of The Potting Shed, but the "cancelling of so many appointments would lead to financial loss to them."

He said there was an "element of sophistication" in her actions, as she sought to change her identity to another employee while deleting the appointments.

Arafat was given a two-year community order and ordered her to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of rehabilitation activity.

Arafat was also made the subject of a five-year restraining order banning her from contacting Sam Pearce.

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