First date disaster: man steals woman's phone after she refuses to go Dutch


cocktails in a bar

First dates are always fraught with potential disaster - will they like you? Will you like them? Will you say or do something wrong? Will they steal your phone after you refuse to pay half of the bill?

OK, so that last one isn't a particularly common concern, but one woman has told a court that this happened on her first date. So what are the rules?

Paying the bill

The Telegraph reported that Fakhara Sultana met 32-year-old Kishore Nimmala of Skeltons Lane, Leyton, East London online.

They met up for a first date at a bar in Leicester Square, where they had two rounds of drinks, and racked up a bill of £54. He thought they should go halves on the bill, but she insisted that she thought a man ought to pay on the first date and said she had no cash with her.

According to The Mirror, she told the court that she left the bar after they argued and he followed her to continue the conversation. She took out her phone, and he snatched it and ran off. The prosecuting lawyer said: "Ms Sultana screamed and ran after him. Two passing policemen joined the chase and eventually caught him."

Nimmala said he did it because he thought it would persuade her to pay her share of the bill. He said he was always going to return it, and denies theft. The case continues.

The rules

At this stage we cannot say what happened this case. However, there are an estimated 24 million first dates every year, with 69% of them arranged through dating websites, so people are meeting complete strangers alone for the first time. There are some rules on dating that we can all stand to learn if we want to stay solvent and safe.

Cut costs

Santander says that to cut costs 22% of people are opting for cheaper alternatives to going for a meal out - including a quick drink, a coffee, or even a stroll in the park. First Direct found that 38% of people would consider using a discount voucher on a first date.

The bad news for men is that First Direct revealed that 25% of women think men should pay for the first date, while 58% think they should go dutch and 14% think whoever suggests the date ought to pay. The same survey found that a whopping 55% of men think they should pay on the first date, and spend an average of £65.

Whoever pays, it's worth establishing it early in the date, so that you both know where you stand. Asking can be awkward, so to be on the safe side, everyone should carry enough cash to pay for the first round at least. Then if the other person doesn't offer to pay for the second you can decide whether to pay up for the date or give it up as a bad idea.

Stay safe

Dating websites also emphasise that it's vital to have your first date somewhere public, like a cafe or bar. It may be cheaper to meet at home, but it's far more dangerous.

Make sure you tell a friend where you are going, and arrange to speak after a few hours to confirm you're OK.

To be on the safe side, it's worth speaking on the phone before you meet, and Googling them. Stay alert for any red flags along the way.

Finally, if things don't feel right, excuse yourself and text a friend to come and meet you. Leave as a safely and quickly as possible with your friend.

10 consumer rights you should know

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