Brexit supporter jailed after sending 'terror-filled' messages to MP Heidi Allen
PUBLISHED: 17:14 18 April 2019
A 51-year-old man who admitted to sending threatening communications to a number of MPs - including South Cambridgeshire's Heidi Allen - has today been jailed.
Jarod Kirkman – of Torquay Drive in Luton – was jailed for a total of 42 weeks for seven counts of sending malicious communications, having pleaded guilty to the offence at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday, April 8.
Threatening communications were sent to MPs Heidi Allen, Nick Boles, Yvette Cooper, Nicky Morgan, Sarah Wollaston, Jenny Chapman and David Lammy, and all were sent using fictitious email details via contact pages on the respective MPs websites.
Kirkman was traced and identified by his IP address and, when interviewed, freely admitted he had sent the abusive messages, but couldn't recall all the details, and said “I was just being a stupid idiot over Brexit”.
Kirkman, who describes himself as a passionate supporter of the UK leaving the European Union, sent the emails between December and January, and began his activity following a speech given in the House of Commons by Nick Boles where he backed a finance bill for a 'no deal' Brexit from the EU.
Detective Superintendent Liz Mead, head of crime at Bedfordshire Police, said: “It is our duty to take all threats, especially those to members of our government, seriously. These messages instilled genuine terror in not just the people to whom they were addressed, but to the members of their staff who received them.
“Kirkman thought he could deliver his vitriolic and terror-filled messages while safely hidden behind his keyboard, and by using bogus email addresses via webforms, it's likely he thought he wouldn't be traced.
“Everyone is entitled to free speech and to voice their opinion, but when those views cross the line into threats of violence or death, then you must expect action will be taken.
“Hopefully the sentence that has been handed down to Kirkman, coupled with the knowledge that you can, and will, be traced, will make those who also contemplate sending such vile communications to anyone including prominent figures in our society, reconsider.”
On sentencing, Judge Emma Arbuthnot QC said: “You deliberately targeted these MPs from the safety of your own home.
“This was a really frightening situation not just for the MPs but for those who open their emails, that they should be threatened by someone hiding behind a screen.
“The message needs to go out that those who threaten MPs are threatening our democratic process.”