Jailed: Businessman bombarded Jeremy Corbyn and other MPs with 'vile' emails
- Credit: PA
A businessman who bombarded Jeremy Corbyn and other MPs with a string of “vile” emails including death threats has been jailed for a year.
Paul Ritchie, 35, pleaded guilty to 28 counts of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress or anxiety over a six-month period between March and August 2019.
His victims also included former Commons speaker John Bercow, former home secretary Amber Rudd and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
Others targeted were former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC, ex-Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, her successor Sir Ed Davey, and one-time London mayoral candidate and Cabinet minister Rory Stewart.
Ritchie was traced through two email addresses, including one linked to his business Snapr – a property services booking website – and arrested at his flat in Paddington.
Judge Adam Hiddleston jailed Ritchie, of Dolphinton, Lanarkshire, for a year at Southwark Crown Court today (June 18).
He said: “I have no doubt that you did harbour a deep-seated animosity to those who held opposing views to your own and that appeared to have been your motivation.
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“The contents of those emails were vile.
“They included threats of violence, such as threats to shoot someone in the face and threats to kill, such as by way of decapitation.
“Those threats were not just directed towards the individuals but also in some case to their families as well.
“Those who received the emails would no doubt be left in fear for their personal safety and that of their loved ones.”
Prosecutor Ruby Selva earlier said Ritchie’s victims had told of their “upset, feelings of being unsettled and fear for their personal safety”.
Emma Fenn, defending, said Ritchie felt “genuine remorse and shame at the content of these messages”, which “do not bear any resemblance to his political views”, with repeated references to Brexit despite him “voting in the opposite direction”.
“He is a businessman, an educated man, who is really currently struggling, and who has unravelled,” she added.
The court heard Ritchie was suffering with depression and had been abusing drugs and alcohol at the time of the offences.