Great Britain

Sentence delay in case of Lanchester man over threatening letter

SENTENCING has been delayed in the case of a man who sent a letter threatening councillors and then attempted to cover up his actions.

Political commentator David Lindsay was recently convicted over authorship of ‘poison pen’ letters, one sent to Durham’s former Chief Constable, Mike Barton, and then using a convoluted method, via a co-blogger in the US, to try to evade justice.

It followed unanimous guilty verdicts returned by the jury to both counts faced by Lindsay at the end of his trial at Durham Crown Court, on March 12.

He denied both sending a letter with intent to cause distress anxiety, and doing an act or acts tending or intended to pervert the course of justice.

The court was told Lindsay had, “a bee in his bonnet” over Durham County Council’s decision to stage a review into the terms and conditions of teaching assistants.

His own mother was a teaching assistant and he backed a campaign in support of their cause.

But in the midst of the furore he was accused of sending a letter posted to Mr Barton, in February 2017, “putting a price on the heads” of 57 named Labour members of the county council who voted in favour of the review.

His fingerprints were found on the envelope.

Faced with a trial over the sending of that letter he was then said to have asked a fellow blogger in the US to send warning letters, first to himself, and then to two clergymen in his home village of Lanchester.

It led to the original trial being aborted as inquiries were staged to trace the source of the latter letters.

Despite denying being behind them, the jury at last month’s trial did not believe his account and returned their guilty verdicts after only an hour deliberation.

Sentence was adjourned to allow for preparation of psychiatric and probation reports on Lindsay.

Judge James Adkin bailed the 42-year-old defendant, of Foxhill Crescent, Lanchester, to return for sentence, originally scheduled for April 3.

But he warned him to “be careful” about his online activity in the intervening period.

Due to the suspension of sittings at the court, in line with social distancing guidance amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the sentencing hearing has now been provisionally put back to May 18.

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