‘I was just being a stupid idiot over Brexit’ says Luton man who sent threats to MPs

A Union flag flies near the Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben, at the Houses of Parliament SUS-190124-085849001
A Union flag flies near the Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben, at the Houses of Parliament SUS-190124-085849001

A Luton man who sent threatening and racially aggravated emails to seven MPs has today been jailed.

After pleading guilty at a hearing on Monday 8 April at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, today (Thursday), Jarod Kirkman, 51, of Torquay Drive, Luton, was jailed for a total of 42 weeks for seven counts of sending malicious communications.

Threatening communications were sent to MPs Nick Boles, Yvette Cooper, Nicky Morgan, Sarah Wollaston, Jenny Chapman, David Lammy and Heidi Allen, and all were sent using fictitious email details via contact pages on the respective MPs websites.

Kirkman was traced and identified by his IP address and, when interviewed, freely admitted he had sent the abusive messages, but couldn’t recall all the details, and said “I was just being a stupid idiot over Brexit.”

Kirkman, who describes himself as a passionate supporter of the UK leaving European Union, sent the emails between December and January, and began his activity following a speech given in the House of Commons by Nick Boles where he backed a finance bill for a “no deal” exit from the EU.

DS Liz Mead, head of crime at Beds Police said: “It is our duty to take all threats, especially those to members of our government, seriously.

“These messages instilled genuine terror in not just the people to whom they were addressed, but to the members of their staff who received them.

“Kirkman thought he could deliver his vitriolic and terror-filled messages while safely hidden behind his keyboard, and by using bogus email addresses via webforms, its likely he thought he wouldn’t be traced.

“Everyone is entitled to free speech and to voice their opinion, but when those views cross the line into threats of violence or death, then you must expect action will be taken.

“Hopefully the sentence that has been handed down to Kirkman today, coupled with the knowledge that you can, and will be traced, will make those who also contemplate sending such vile communications to anyone including prominent figures in our society, reconsider.

“The impact that it has on those receiving it should not be underestimated, whatever job you have you should be able to go about your business without hate and abuse.”

On sentencing, Her Honour Judge Emma Arbuthnot QC said: “You deliberately targeted these Members of Parliament from the safety of your own home.

“This was a really frightening situation not just for the MPs but for those who open their emails, that they should be threatened by someone hiding behind a screen.

“The message needs to go out that those who threaten MPs are threatening our democratic process.”