'Beheading' comment sees councillor reported to police

District councillor Richard Shepherd

Former north Norfolk district councillor Richard Shepherd - Credit: Archant

An online message referring to the beheading of a Liberal Democrat rival has led to a councillor being reported to police.

Richard Shepherd, a former police officer who is a member of Sheringham Town Council, posted the comment on Facebook.

Responding to a picture of Baconsthorpe Castle, in north Norfolk, the councillor wrote: “Photo of the Bloody Tower where Libs (one in particular!) may be beheaded. Including Stephanie Aquarone!!” 

Richard Shepherd's now-deleted Facebook comment

Richard Shepherd's now-deleted Facebook comment - Credit: Facebook

The post was reported to police by Mr Aquarone and has since been removed.

At the time of the post - in April - Mr Shepherd was a Conservative member, but the party has confirmed that he has since left.

Mr Shepherd, who previously stood on North Norfolk District Council, said: “Someone lost their sense of humour and I don’t have anything to say about it. I just want to leave it as it is. 

“I cannot confirm or deny that I have been spoken to by the police, I can only say that there is no action being taken by them.” 

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Mr Aquarone is a county councillor for Melton Constable and has been chosen by the Lib Dems to stand against MP Duncan Baker in north Norfolk at the next general election.

He declined to comment on the post, since it had been reported to the police. 

However, he added: “It just seems to me that people can’t disagree in politics without relying on the language of violence. 

“This is not good for anyone; it puts people off politics and it means that fewer people stand.”

A spokesperson for the North Norfolk Conservatives confirmed Mr Shepherd stopped being a member at the beginning of May but was unable to give further information. 

This comes at a time of heightened tension between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in north Norfolk.

Until last Friday, Tim Adams, the leader of the district council had ceased contact with local MP Mr Baker.

The dispute started over comments made by an ex-Conservative party member towards a Lib Dem councillor on social media that Mr Adams branded “misogynistic”.

At the time, Mr Adams alleged the MP was not taking his concerns seriously, while Mr Baker argued he was not accountable for members of the public.

Liberal Democrat county councillor Steffan Aquarone has launched a petition to save Sheringham's Post Office branch.

Liberal Democrat county councillor for Melton Constable, Steffan Aquarone - Credit: Alex Broadway

Mr Shepherd's comments follow the murder of two MPs in Britain in the last six years. 

Conservative Sir David Amess and Labour’s Jo Cox were both murdered outside their constituency offices in October 2021 and June 2016. These incidents have led to calls for greater protection measures for MPs.

Norfolk Constabulary has been approached for comment.