A Brexit supported businessman who bombarded MPs with a string of ‘vile’ emails including death threats has been jailed for a year.

Paul Ritchie’s victims included former Commons speaker John Bercow, ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, former home secretary Amber Rudd and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said he felt ‘unsettled, upset and concerned for his safety’ after receiving an email saying ‘you deserve to get shot in the face you prick’.

He was sent it as he was having dinner with his family following appearance to discuss Brexit on the Andrew Marr Show.

In a message to Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, he said: ‘If you stop Brexit we will kill you and your entire family.’

Another email to former attorney general Dominic Grieve said: ‘Everyone around you will suffer personally.’

Ritchie also sent a blank email to Bercow with the subject ‘#jocox’ – in reference to the Labour MP murdered by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair during the Brexit referendum campaign.

Others targeted included ex-Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and one-time London mayoral candidate and Cabinet minister Rory Stewart.

Ritchie, 35, was traced through two email addresses, including one linked to his business Snapr – a property services booking website – and arrested at his flat in Paddington, central London.

He pleaded guilty to 28 counts of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress or anxiety over a six-month period between March and August 2019.

Judge Adam Hiddleston jailed Ritchie, of Dolphinton, Lanarkshire, for one year at Southwark Crown Court today.

He said: ‘I have no doubt that you did harbour a deep-seated animosity to those who held opposing views to your own and that appeared to have been your motivation.

‘The contents of those emails were vile. They included threats of violence, such as threats to shoot someone in the face and threats to kill, such as by way of decapitation.

‘Those who received the emails would no doubt be left in fear for their personal safety and that of their loved ones.’

In a statement to the court, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said ‘the level of abuse, threats and intimidation’ received by MPs had increased following murder of Jo Cox.

He added: ‘Those responsible should face the full force of the law at the appropriate level.

‘The members should feel safe in the knowledge they are able to perform their role in democracy.’

Emma Fenn, defending, said Ritchie felt ‘genuine remorse and shame at the content of these messages’, which ‘do not bear any resemblance to his political views’, with repeated references to Brexit despite him ‘voting in the opposite direction’.

She added: ‘He is a businessman, an educated man, who is really currently struggling, and who has unravelled.’

The court heard Ritchie was suffering with depression and had been abusing drugs and alcohol at the time of the offences.

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