Scot charged after MPs bombarded with death threats

Paul Ritchie, 34, is accused of sending 28 abusive messages to MPs in 2019.

Scot charged after MPs bombarded with death threats Getty Images

A Scot has been charged after MPs were bombarded with death threats by email.

Paul Ritchie, 34, is accused of sending 28 abusive messages to MPs in 2019, often suggesting they would be killed if they “stopped Brexit.”

Among Ritchie’s alleged targets were former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Sir Edward Davey, and former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd.

John Bercow, former Speaker of the House of Commons, was told he would be decapitated.

In one email to Davey, Ritchie is alleged to have said: “If you stop Brexit we will kill you and your entire family.”

In another to Corbyn, he is accused of writing: “Murdering you would be fully justified.”

During the alleged campaign of abuse, Ritchie is said to have referred to the the assassination of Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was shot and killed in Birstall, West Yorkshire in 2016.

Ritchie’s charges include a series of malicious messages to Mr Bercow in which he is alleged to have written: “If you thwart Brexit we will decapitate you” and “one in 17 million is bad odds for some nutter to pull a Jo Cox on you and your staff.”

The defendant, of Dolphinton, Lanarkshire, was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

But the case was adjourned until February 25 so arrangements could be made for him to appear via videolink.

Concluding a brief one-minute hearing, District Judge Claire Evans said: “Mr Ritchie’s case isn’t going to be considered today because it’s going to be considered on February 25 which was the original date.”

Court documents revealed Ritchie faces 27 charges of sending messages conveying threatening messages to 12 politicians and one to The House of Lords between March and August 2019.

His alleged victims are Jeremy Corbyn, John Bercow, Amber Rudd, Welsh MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Adam Price, former Lib Dem MP for Streatham Chuka Umunna, former Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, and former secretary of state for International Development Rory Stewart.

He is also alleged to have sent messages to SNP House of Commons leader Ian Blackford, former chair of the intelligence and security committee Dominic Grieve, Lib Dem MP Dr Philip Lee, and Lib Dem leader Sir Edward Davey MP.

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

The defendant has not entered a plea to the charges.

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