Police probe online death threats aimed at Derry City Council chief
Threats to Derry City Council's chief executive after it emerged she is set to receive a redundancy package worth more than a quarter of a million pounds are being investigated by police, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.
It is understood the alleged threats against Sharon O'Connor were made on Twitter in the wake of the news that she would receive a pay-off totalling £275,000 when the new Derry and Strabane super council assumes its powers on April 1. An online campaign was quickly launched to allow people to voice their opposition to the massive payout.
A petition on Facebook has received the support of more than 3,500 people.
However, the DUP Deputy Mayor of Londonderry said that Ms O'Connor had received abuse and threats online to such an extent that she deleted her Twitter account.
Gary Middleton also claimed that in some of the abusive messages directed at Ms O'Connor, the word 'gun' was mentioned.
When asked about the threats and a police investigation, the PSNI would neither confirm nor deny either had been made.
A police spokesperson said: "We do not discuss the security of any individual, however, if we believe someone may need to review their security we take appropriate steps and inform them immediately. We would never ignore information that could put a person at risk."
Meanwhile, Derry City Council said it was taking the issue seriously.
A spokesperson said: "Derry City Council is aware of the material which has been posted about a Derry City Council staff member on social media. Derry City Council takes all such matters seriously." The council refused to comment on or confirm the figures involved in Ms O'Connor's payout, saying that the local authority "does not comment on individual staff matters".
The spokesperson added that "in common with other councils, Derry City Council operates a standard severance package that applies to all employees".