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Man accused of email threats to MPs will face crown court trial

Alex Mistlin
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Image Source/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Image Source/Alamy

A man accused of sending threatening emails to a number of current and former politicians has had his case sent to the crown court.

Paul Ritchie, 34, from Dolphinton in Lanarkshire, is accused of 28 counts of sending a letter, communication or article conveying a threatening message against a number of prominent political figures including the former home secretary Amber Rudd and the Jeremy Corbyn.

Court documents show Ritchie is accused of sending the former Labour leader an email in March 2019 containing the message: “You should be hung for treason you fucking terrorist.”

Other alleged victims include the former Commons Speaker John Bercow, the former attorney general Dominic Grieve, the former Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and the Scottish National party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford.

Ritchie entered no pleas during a brief appearance by video link at Westminster magistrates court on Thursday.

In a brief administrative hearing he spoke to state his name, address and date of birth, and to confirm that the Conservative former cabinet minister David Mundell was his local MP. Mundell is not one of the alleged victims.

The deputy chief magistrate, Tan Ikram, said the case would be heard at Southwark crown court in London on 25 March.

The alleged offences relate to a series of emails sent over spring and summer 2019. In March that year he allegedly sent an email to Bercow, who was Speaker at the time, saying “1 in 17 million is bad odds for some nutter to pull a Jo Cox on you and your staff”. A week later, Ritchie allegedly added in another email: “Be careful ... [y]ou wouldn’t want to get run over.”

In an email on May 2019 to the former politician Chuka Umunna, Ritchie is alleged to have written: “You have been warned ... shut your fucking mouth boy.”

In July that year he is said to have followed up with: “If you kill brexit ... [w]e will kill you and your entire family.”

Ritchie is also accused of sending an email to the House of Lords on 26 June 2019 saying: “You have been warned.”

He was released on bail.