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Fabric: Drug dealer could face jail after emailing death threat to Islington councillor who shut club

17:35 23 September 2016

Cllr Flora Williamson received a death threat after shutting Fabric (Pictures: Polly Hancock/Islington Council)

Cllr Flora Williamson received a death threat after shutting Fabric (Pictures: Polly Hancock/Islington Council)

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A convicted drug dealer who sent a death threat to the councillor who closed Farringdon superclub Fabric could face jail next month.

"As a councillor I want to be accessible and reachable to the residents I represent. This made me worried I was not safe and I am concerned it will affect the way I carry out my duties as a councillor"

Cllr Flora Williamson (Lab, Tollington)

Sebastian Clark-Darby, 25, sent an email to Cllr Flora Williamson saying “please note you have received an official death threat”, a court heard today.

The message was sent from his work computer at 10am on September 7, just hours after the licensing sub-committee chair had revoked Fabric’s licence following the deaths of two 18-year-old clubgoers.

Clark-Darby had been reminiscing with colleagues about their nights out at the club and was reading furious reactions to its closure on social media when he sent the “stupid” email.

The court heard Cllr Williamson had feared for her safety after reading it and alerted police, who traced him through Facebook. He told officers he had sent the email to get a “reaction and a response” and had no intention of carrying out the threat.

Fabric shut its doors after the second 18-year-old died at the beginning of August (Picture: Fabio Venni/Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0)Fabric shut its doors after the second 18-year-old died at the beginning of August (Picture: Fabio Venni/Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0)

Clark-Darby, one of 150,000 people to sign a petition supporting the club, had become “swallowed up in all the hype”, according to his defence lawyer Gero Di Piazza.

He told magistrates at Highbury Corner: “It’s no secret Fabric was almost an institution to under 30s.

“There was lots of toing and froing on social media, he got involved and sent the email. He regrets it, it was stupid.

“He sent it from his work computer. There was obviously no intention because if there was he would have been a bit more clever about covering his tracks.”

Two 18-year-olds died after taking drugs at the Charterhouse Street venue over the summer (Picture: Polly Hancock)Two 18-year-olds died after taking drugs at the Charterhouse Street venue over the summer (Picture: Polly Hancock)

The court heard Clark-Darby, of Linford Avenue, Newport Pagnell, had told probation officers he didn’t think of the consequences until after he had hit the send button, when he “deeply regretted” his decision.

He was also said to be “deeply upset” on discovering how it had impacted Cllr Williamson and asked if he could write her a letter of apology.

Clark-Darby, who pleaded guilty to sending communication of offensive nature, is already serving a suspended sentence for possession with intent to supply MDMA. Because of this, magistrate Mark Oxenham sent him to Blackfriars Crown Court for sentencing.

He told him: “It had a very serious effect on the councillor you sent the email to. We take this death threat very seriously.”

Clark-Darby was bailed on the condition he does not enter Islington or contact any Islington Council staff.

Cllr Williamson was not in court for the hearing but in a statement read to magistrates she said: “As a councillor I want to be accessible and reachable to the residents I represent. This made me worried I was not safe and I am concerned it will affect the way I carry out my duties as a councillor.”

She has also made her Twitter profile private in the wake of abuse following the decision.

Guidelines from the Sentencing Council state: “If an offender does not comply with the requirements or is convicted of another offence during the suspension period, they are likely to serve the original custodial term in addition to the sentence they get for the new offence.”

An Eastbourne man is due in court next week over an alleged indecent or offensive tweet sent to Cllr Williamson the day after the licensing committee made its decision.

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