Norfolk man who threatened Labour MPs spared jail

Nicholas Nelson exits Westminster Magistrates' Court in London after his sentencing, Nelson pleaded

Nicholas Nelson exits Westminster Magistrates' Court in London after his sentencing, Nelson pleaded guilty to three counts of sending communications of an offensive nature in 2018. - Credit: PA

A North Walsham man who targeted Labour MPs with "vulgar, obscene and threatening" abuse has escaped jail. 

Nicholas Nelson, 31, pleaded guilty to three counts of sending communications of an offensive nature between July and September 2018.

The charges relate to phone calls and emails to Dame Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, east London, Dame Louise Ellman and Lord (John) Mann, who were also both Labour MPs at the time.

Nicholas Nelson arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London for sentencing after pleading gu

Nicholas Nelson arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London for sentencing after pleading guilty to three counts of sending communications of an offensive nature in 2018. - Credit: PA

Nelson, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter, was handed a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, in December 2018 after admitting harassing Jewish then Labour MPs Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth in March and April that year.

Deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram sentenced him to 30 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

The judge said that he would have jailed Nelson had he sentenced him for all of the offences in 2018.

But he added: "I have considered carefully whether I can suspend the sentences and I felt just about able to do so."

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Prosecutor Jason Seetal said the offence against Dame Margaret, who is Jewish, was "religiously aggravated".

In a victim impact statement, Dame Margaret said she had been left feeling "unsure" about her personal safety after receiving the emails.

"For the first time, I now feel under threat because of my Jewish identity," she said.

Lord Mann received an abusive phone message, played in court, on September 3, 2018.

Sentencing Nelson, Mr Ikram said he would not repeat the words used, adding: "They are the most vulgar, obscene, threatening vocabulary I can think of."

He said: "I took a very serious view in December 2018. I did so then and I do so now because there has been a significant increase in threats made to MPs - threats of violence, threats based on their faith and on race."

Julian Young, defending Nelson, who was supported by his parents in court, said: "He's ashamed of his conduct."

He read a letter from Nelson, which said: "I want to offer a full apology to Louise Ellman, Margaret Hodge and John Mann for the harm caused by my conduct."

Nelson was also sentenced to a 30-day rehabilitation order, 240 hours of unpaid work and told to pay a total of £200 in victim surcharge and costs.

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