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Sentence no-show troll faces arrest

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Frank Zimmerman failed to appear in court to be sentenced for sending threatening emails to an MP

Frank Zimmerman failed to appear in court to be sentenced for sending threatening emails to an MP

Frank Zimmerman failed to appear in court to be sentenced for sending threatening emails to an MP

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 60-year-old man who sent a threatening email to Conservative MP Louise Mensch after he failed to turn up at court.

Internet troll Frank Zimmerman was due to be sentenced at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court in Gloucestershire on Thursday afternoon.

He had targeted the MP for Corby, Northamptonshire, last year telling her to stop using the social networking site Twitter or face the consequences.

The agoraphobic, who lives in a run-down house in Barnwood, Gloucester, told Mrs Mensch that she faced a "Sophie's Choice" - a reference to a novel in which heroine Sophie has to choose between the life of her son or daughter at a Nazi concentration camp.

Zimmerman was charged with an offence of sending by public communication network an offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing message or matter.

At a hearing at Gloucester Magistrates' Court in April, he was found guilty in his absence, having failed to attend on that occasion, blaming his agoraphobia and depression.

He attended court last month for sentencing but a district judge adjourned the case until Thursday so that a pre-sentence report could be completed.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said of the scheduled hearing: "Zimmerman did not appear, and a warrant for failing to surrender to bail was issued by the court, for him to be arrested and brought before the court at the earliest opportunity. The court declined to pass sentence in his absence."

Following the email dated August 22 last year, the 40-year-old MP, who has more than 58,000 followers on Twitter, immediately called in the police and arranged security for her family.

The offensive email was later traced to the IP address of Zimmerman's home computer. Zimmerman denied sending it, saying his computer had been hacked.

PA