Barrister 'was consumed with jealousy'

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The Independent Online

A barrister attempted to "humiliate and destroy" her ex-boyfriend after being "consumed with jealousy" over his relationship with a German model, a court heard today.

Indian-born Aisha Bijlani, 43, of Belgravia, London, acted in an "evil and calculating" manner as she "lashed out" at Atul Sehgal, Blackfriars Crown Court in London was told.

Bijlani, who lost a £33 million race discrimination claim against a leading law firm earlier this year, is appealing against a conviction for two counts of sending malicious and insulting emails and making abusive phone calls between June and August 2007.

Marketing executive Mr Sehgal, 41, said: "She (Bijlani) had an evil and calculating behaviour."

He added: "She told me she wanted to destroy me and would say, 'Watch while your life crumbles'. She was ruthlessly trying to destroy my life.

"It basically was there to humiliate and destroy me in the most personal way."

He described receiving a succession of emails from Bijlani containing a series of insults - labelling his late mother a "whore" and calling him a "lap dog", "arsehole", "loser" and "impotent gay man".

Mr Sehgal, who had a four-month relationship with Bijlani in 2004, told the court he started seeing Nicola Koenig in May 2007.

"The emails I was getting (from Bijlani) were from a woman who was consumed by jealousy - a woman who could not compete with Nicola," he said. "She lashed out in this way."

He told the court he was "falling in love with Nicola" at the time and accepted he may have sent Bijlani an internet link to Ms Koenig's modelling website.

Ms Koenig, giving evidence on the second day of the hearing, insisted she "never had a sexual relationship" with Mr Sehgal and described him as a friend.

The court heard Bijlani incorrectly believed Ms Koenig was a prostitute.

The 28-year-old model said she went to police after receiving abuse from Bijlani via email.

"I was so frightened," said Ms Koenig. "I was kind of desperate, being alone here."

She said the episode caused her to lose sleep and weight.

The court heard she met Mr Sehgal, who was single at the time, at a house party in London while studying a language course.

But she decided to return to Germany, where she worked as an advertising model, after being targeted by Bijlani.

Jeannie Mackie, for Bijlani, suggested Mr Sehgal had played the two women off against each other. "You told one about the other," she said.

Mr Sehgal denied the suggestion and added: "It's not as though I meet a model every day. When I first met her (Ms Koenig), I thought 'wow'. She has got her own website. I thought that was quite an achievement."

In some emails, Bijlani referred to Mr Sehgal as "chubby cheeks" and herself as the "sweet global phenomenon of the entire universe", the court heard.

"That's who she tries to be. That's who she markets herself as," said Mr Sehgal.

Miss Mackie, cross examining, said: "I am going to suggest you have been highly selective about the evidence and the information you have given to the police in this case."

She added Mr Sehgal was "giving as good as you got" in the email exchange with Bijlani.

He rejected the claim and added: "I have never once said anything negative about her family."

He said it was his "worst nightmare" to report Bijlani to police.

"When I spoke to the police about this I was in a very upset state. My impression of Aisha was that she had some mental problems," he added.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow.