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Jail term for man who threatened MP on Facebook over support for Syria strikes

Published 30/12/2015

Tory MP Charlotte Leslie was subjected to abuse on Facebook
Tory MP Charlotte Leslie was subjected to abuse on Facebook

A Muslim convert who used Facebook to say he would bomb an MP's house after she voted in favour of British air strikes in Syria has been jailed for eight weeks.

Craig Wallace, 23, who converted to Islam while serving a jail term for attempted robbery, said he wanted to show Tory MP Charlotte Leslie "what it's like to murder innocents".

Three weeks after he was released from sentence of almost five years, he launched a tirade of abuse aimed at the Bristol North MP on a thread of comments on the UK Truth Movement Facebook page.

He wrote: "I'm going to smash her windows then drop a bomb on her house while she's tucked up in bed. You dirty f****** pig-shagging slut.

"I'm going to find her and show her what it's like to murder innocents. You dirty pig-f****** whore," he said in a second post on December 3, the day after MPs voted to authorise the air strikes.

Wallace, who calls himself Muhammad Mujahid Islam on Facebook, has a string of convictions for violent offences including possession of a knife.

Dressed in a white Islamic robe and prayer cap, bearded Wallace nodded as he was sentenced by District Judge Mark Jabbit at Willesden Green Magistrates' Court.

Mr Jabbit told him: "You personalised a very, very, very serious debate by using not just vile, but I would describe it as misogynistic, language towards a sitting MP in a public forum, which no doubt caused distress."

At an earlier hearing the judge told Wallace: "What's absolutely clear is that your language and expressions about this MP Ms Leslie, who you have no knowledge of, went beyond any sort of legitimate comment or protest on an extremely serious issue."

Wallace, of Teignmouth Road in Willesden Green, north London, pleaded guilty to sending threatening communications.

He claimed he was "venting his anger" and had not had any sleep because he had been "protesting for two or three days", and he had not been taking his anti-psychotic medication for a personality disorder.

In mitigation Janaka Siriwardena, defending, told the court: "Clearly, what Mr Wallace did was despicable and it went far beyond any sort of legitimate protest and he is deeply sorry for what has happened.

"He felt he needed to protest against what he thought was something he disagreed with. He is deeply sorry about that and what he does want to mention is that he acknowledges that he had issues with controlling his emotions."

He added that Wallace had written a letter of apology to Ms Leslie, using his "limited education", in an attempt to allay the distress and harm he accepted he had caused.

The court heard Wallace had a "troubled" childhood after his mother died when he was aged eight, and that he is now seeking to address his issues.

A number of other MPs, many of them in the Labour Party, have complained to police that they had received death threats after voting in favour of air strikes on Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Neil Coyle, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said police had stationed extra officers outside his surgery after he received an apparent death threat on social media, while Labour Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk has spoken out about receiving an apparent death threat on Facebook after he voted in favour of the military action.

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