A Facebook prankster who tricked a young mum into sawing her tatty sofa into three pieces when he saw it for sale has become an internet sensation.
Joe Cordingley, from Poulton, contacted mother-of-one Emma Taylor after he spotted the second-hand couch for sale on a local buy and sell site.
The 21-year-old then posted humiliating screengrabs of his messages to to Ms Taylor, which showed how he talked her into chopping it up to fit into his boot, covering it with ketchup, and taking a picture of herself with a saw.
Mr Cordingley said: ‘The sofa was really grotty and had stains all over it, and to be honest I couldn’t see anyone genuinely wanting to buy it’
The post went viral on Tuesday and has since had more than 81,000 likes and 68,000 shares - and hit the national headlines.
He added: ‘I felt a bit sorry for her trying to flog it, but fair enough; everyone’s got to make some money.
‘I wanted her to chop it to bits and then spray it with ketchup to make the house look like a murder scene.
‘I know it seems a bit harsh, but she was going along with it. It’s not like I held a gun to her head.
‘I said I wanted it to be a three-piece suite and needed it cut into smaller bits so I could fit it in my car.
‘The conversation just progressed from there and a few hours later she send me the pictures of it in bits. I couldn’t believe it.’
He saw the sofa for sale after one of his friends shared Ms Taylor’s post from a Blackpool buy and sell group on his timeline on Monday evening.
He then began a series of private messages to Ms Taylor, from St Annes, before posting the outcome online later than night.
Full-time mum Ms Taylor, who lives with her seven-year-old daughter, Mali, , said: ‘When Joe messaged me asking how much, I thought he was being entirely serious.
‘I thought he wanted it for some sort of stage production or a murder mystery night so I just went along with it.
‘It was pretty hard work. I spent about an hour-and-a-half sawing it. One of my friends came round when I was about to start doing the cushions and told me to stop.’
Unbeknown to the mother, Mr Cordingley was posting screenshots of their conversation on his Facebook page to keep his friends updated on the prank.
He said: ‘I think she was just amazed that anyone would actually want it. When I saw the advert I thought: ‘Is she for real selling that?’
‘I suppose I took it pretty far but I don’t regret it. It was all just a laugh that started because I was bored after work. I didn’t think it would get the reaction it did.
He claimed to have sent her £38.22 via PayPal to cover the costs of the sofa, a new saw and all her hard work, but she has not yet recieved the payment
‘Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a prankster. All I was bothered about was pulling it off.
‘My phone was buzzing so much overnight that the battery died twice.’
The ruined sofa is now in her garage - but she says she doesn’t feel humiliated, despite becoming the butt of jokes by thousands of commentors online.
Ms Taylor said: ‘It’s a sofa I’ve had for years that was just wasting away in our front room.
‘My cats have been all over it and my friends’ dogs too - I was just looking to give it away, I wasn’t expecting anyone to pay for it.
‘I just wanted them to collect it because I didn’t want to throw it away. It might be of use to someone. Only the corner is badly damaged.
‘Maybe I should feel humiliated but I don’t. I thought he was genuine and was trying to help him out.
‘I was trying to make a few quid in the run up to Christmas and tidy the house at the same time, but it has backfired slightly.’
Since the post went viral, they have managed to have a laugh about the episode.
Mr Cordingley said: ‘Her reaction was just: ‘Wow’. She had friends messaging her from Australia who had seen the whole thing blow up online.
‘I looked up the minimum wage for an apprentice joiner and worked out how much it would be pay her for wasting her time.
‘I gave her time-and-a-half. She took it pretty well. Nobody got hurt.’
But she said: ‘I’ve had nothing through from him, the little chancer. I might put it on eBay instead.’