COURT: Manslaughter trial hears about secret life of Vilson Meshi - man found dead in car in Pitsea

By Charles Thomson in Crime

A MAN allegedly killed when a marine flare was thrown into his car in Pitsea was living a secret double life, a court heard this morning.

Vilson Meshi, 30, had a wife and child in Glossop, plus an ex-partner and two children in Basildon – but neither family knew about the other, prosecutor David Matthew told Chelmsford Crown Court. Mr Meshi also had a girlfriend.

His double life came to light after his death in Pincey Mead on February 27, 2016.

Mr Meshi died as he slept in his black Audi, outside the house he co-owned with his ex-partner Michelle Mehtab, who lived there with the pair’s young son and daughter.

Mr Meshi had told his wife, Besjana Meshi, he was spending the evening of Friday, February 26, with friends - but had actually driven to Basildon to babysit his two children the following day.

Ms Mehtab, meanwhile, believed Mr Meshi’s wife was actually his cousin.

The court heard Mr Meshi, who owned a Tesco car wash in Glossop, would travel to Basildon on a weekly or sometimes fortnightly basis to visit his children.

His wife believed he was visiting London to meet friends and relatives, and to attend gatherings for Tesco car wash bosses.

Mrs Meshi told police she had no knowledge of the Pincey Mead property her husband jointly owned with Ms Mehtab.

Mr Meshi had told her he kept two child seats in the boot of his car so he could drive his sister’s children around during trips to London.

Keani Hobbs, 18, of Stagden Cross, Basildon, is charged with manslaughter and the theft of six flares. A 16-year-old boy from London - granted anonymity by a court-imposed gagging order - is also charged with manslaughter and theft.

Ms Mehtab gave three police statements after her ex-partner’s body was discovered in his fire-damaged car outside her home in February last year. They were read to jurors this morning.

In the statements, Ms Mehtab said she met Mr Meshi in May 2009.

He told her he had come to the UK from Albania with friends when he was 16 or 17, but had claimed he was 15 and been placed in foster care. He attended East Ham College before working at Ford Dagenham in accounts, then recruitment and sales.

When Ms Mehtab met him, he worked for Fortress Recruitment in Brentwood but, she told police: "Vilson aspired to own his own chain of car washes."

Their son was born in February 2012 and they bought a house in Pincey Mead, on a joint mortgage, in February 2013.

Their daughter was born in January 2014, by which time Ms Mehtab told police their relationship was in trouble. They separated three months after the birth.

Ms Mehtab said: "It was mainly my decision as I was unhappy because we were arguing."

’Within a few days’ of the separation, Mr Meshi told Ms Mehtab he was moving to Manchester to open a car wash.

Mrs Meshi, who is Albanian, told police in statements read to jurors that she arrived in the UK in August 2014 - but the court did not hear when they had met, married or had their daughter.

On Friday, February 26, 2016, she said Mr Meshi drove her and their daughter to stay with Mrs Meshi’s sister for a few days. Then he left, telling her he was meeting friends.

She said: "The plan was that Vilson would spend the evening with friends and then sleep in the car wherever they were, as he did not like sleeping in other people’s houses."

The following day, she said, "He would return to Glossop to run the car wash, as it is as its busiest at weekends."

In fact, Mr Meshi drove to Basildon on the evening of February 26 and decided to sleep outside Ms Mehtab’s home overnight, before picking up their children at 10am the following day.

But, prosecutors contend, Mr Meshi died overnight when a marine flare was put inside his car and set it alight as he slept.

At the time of Mr Meshi’s death, Ms Mehtab knew he had a ’new partner’ called Laura Brown, but had no knowledge of his marriage to Mrs Meshi or their child.

She told police: "It is only since his death that I have learned Vilson had a wife who lived opposite the car wash... Vilson told me she was his cousin."

The trial continues.