As the Beatles told us, money can’t buy love. But when Neale Hogg’s relationship broke down, he believed he should be recompensed for the cost of his wooing.
Hogg, 55, bombarded his former Zimbabwean fiancée with invoices for the £3,250 he forked out while romancing her, on hotel stays, meals, clothes and an engagement ring.
Every penny he spent during the 18-month relationship with nurse Martha Muzhange was totted up before he sent demands for the ‘debt’ to be paid in full.
The civil servant even wanted a refund for the price of an MOT test, and became so desperate to get his money back from 54-year-old Miss Muzhange he sent letters to her fellow church-goers.
Swansea magistrates’ court heard the pair became engaged after meeting on dating website and planned to marry later this year, but split up in January. Prosecutor Laura Carthew said: ‘Hogg repeatedly contacted her asking for his money back.
‘He posted letters through her letterbox demanding money from her and asking for backdated cheques. These items appear to have been delivered on an almost weekly basis.’
She added: ‘At one point he even went to Ms Muzhange’s church and started giving letters to her fellow parishioners. She can no longer go to church because she’s afraid of repercussions.’
Hogg, of Fforestfach, Swansea, admitted harassment and was given a 12-month community order and told to have treatment for alcohol addiction. Magistrates also granted a restraining order preventing him from approaching or contacting mother-of-two Miss Muzhange, who arrived in Britain from Zimbabwe in 2002.
Simon Howell, defending, said: ‘At the end of the relationship he felt very strongly that this was money owed to him.
‘But he has now decided to forget about what he considers a debt owed to him by this lady.’
Father-of-one Hogg, who has lost his job with the DVLA after 12 years, said he proposed after two months of dating.
‘We got on very well, we went on holidays and trips – all the sorts of things you do as a couple when you’re in love,’ he said.
‘Martha is from Zimbabwe and in their culture they have a different way of doing things.
‘You have to be accepted into the family, then the head of the family will have a word with you and you have to pay a dowry to kind of buy in. We got to Christmas and that was all fine but then it started to go downhill and we had some major disagreements.
‘We fell out big time and I was disowned by her relatives.’
In a statement read to the court, Miss Muzhange said she had suffered medical problems since the incident and was afraid for her safety and that of her son, daughter and her grandchildren.
The invoice blitz is the second time Hogg has appeared in court before charged with offences against the woman he once planned to marry. In February, he was fined £100 by magistrates after slapping her around the face with the back of his hand.
He also admitted causing damage but despite the court appearances Hogg still keeps framed pictures of Miss Muzhange on his bookshelves at home. Daily Mail