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Music producer threatened to rape Islington councillor who closed Fabric

PUBLISHED: 13:34 29 September 2016 | UPDATED: 13:58 29 September 2016

A general view of a Twitter page on a laptop screen (Picture: Dave Thompson/PA Wire)

A general view of a Twitter page on a laptop screen (Picture: Dave Thompson/PA Wire)

PA/Press Association Images

A music producer told the Islington councillor who shut down Farringdon superclub Fabric: “Your decision has made me come over all rapey.”

Cllr Flora Williamson was sent a rape threatCllr Flora Williamson was sent a rape threat

Jacob Townsend, 22, sent the message to Cllr Flora Williamson’s Twitter account on September 7, a court heard today. It came after a council licensing committee – which she chaired – closed down the club where two 18-year-olds had taken fatal drug overdoses this summer.

Townsend, of Southdown Road, Eastbourne, admitted one count of sending a grossly offensive tweet with intent to cause distress at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court this morning.

Wearing a black hoodie with white paint stains, Townsend – who had never even attended Fabric – was given a four-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months.

Zahid Hussain, prosecuting, told the court: “Since the closure of the nightclub, a number of guests have turned to social media in order to express their anger, frustration and irritation at the decision. On September 7, this defendant was one of those who wanted to express his anger at Flora Williamson.

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“He tweeted her account which she uses to communicate with Islington residents, and in my submission it is despicable.

“It read: ‘Feminist ho wanna fill my elephant knob in your gob. Your decision to shut the club has made me come over all rapey.’”

The tweet was traced back to Townsend, an unemployed electronic music producer, and he was arrested.

Mr Hussain continued: “He realised the tweet was disgusting but thought it was funny at the time. He wanted to provoke a reaction and admitted knowing it would cause distress.

Fabric nightclub in Charterhouse Street was shut by Islington's licensing committee in the early hours of September 7 (Picture: Polly Hancock)Fabric nightclub in Charterhouse Street was shut by Islington's licensing committee in the early hours of September 7 (Picture: Polly Hancock)

“When you tweet ‘I am coming over all rapey’, that places it in the highest possible category of sentencing guidelines. It caused her a great deal of distress and offence.”

Townsend is currently serving a community order, imposed in January for domestic abuse.

A probation officer told the court: “He’s appalled at what he said. He believed it would get lost in the volume of messages the councillor was receiving. Among these were threats of violence, although he admits none of these were of a sexually explicit nature.

“I understand he has difficulty engaging and seeing the female point of view. He has issues with women in power. Having said that, he’s embarrassed and wouldn’t have said it in person.”

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)

The officer added Townsend split with his partner in December and suffers depression.

Robert Kaim, defending, said: “This defendant has never been to the London Borough of Islington, and as such has never been to Fabric nightclub. He was joining the general dismay of thousands.”

Townsend is the second person in six days to be convicted of abusing Cllr Williamson in the wake of the Fabric decision. At the same court on Friday, Sebastian Clark-Darby, 25, admitted emailing her a death threat.

In addition to the suspended jail sentence, Townsend must also pay £115 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

Magistrate Hilary Arnold ruled out compensation for Cllr Williamson as “we feel she wouldn’t want any further contact with you”.

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