UK

Gina Miller 'violated' after viscount's Facebook post

The 4th Viscount St Davids, Rhodri Philipps, arrives at Westminster Magistrates" Court in London Image copyright PA
Image caption The 4th Viscount St Davids, Rhodri Philipps, is accused of online threats against the anti-Brexit campaigner, Gina Miller

Businesswoman Gina Miller has said she felt "violated" after an aristocrat wrote a Facebook post offering a bounty for her to be run over.

Rhodri Colwyn Philipps, 50, the 4th Viscount St Davids, wrote the message four days after Ms Miller won a Brexit legal challenge against the government in November of last year.

Lord St Davids denies three charges of making malicious communications.

He told Westminster Magistrates' Court the posts were not "menacing".

Lord St Davids, of Knightsbridge, London, wrote on the social media site on 7 November 2016: "£5,000 for the first person to 'accidentally' run over this bloody troublesome first generation immigrant."

He described her as a "boat jumper" and added: "If this is what we should expect from immigrants, send them back to their stinking jungles."

'Monkeys'

Ms Miller, 52, said she felt "violated" by his "shocking" comments about her.

Asked by the prosecution why he had used the term "immigrant", Lord St Davids told the court: "She's not part of the furniture" adding, "She's been here less than a generation."

The viscount also posted two messages referring to immigrants as "monkeys".

In one post, not directed at Ms Miller, he said: "Please will someone smoke this ghastly insult to this country, why should I pay tax to feed these monkeys?"

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gina Miller attended Westminster Magistrates' Court in London

Ms Miller led the successful legal challenge which, on 3 November, ruled the government had to consult Parliament before formally beginning the Brexit process.

Ms Miller - who was born in Guyana - told the court she had been the subject of death threats since her role in the Article 50 case.

In a statement read to the court, she said she was "very scared for the safety of herself and her family".

"In addition to finding it offensive, racist and hateful, she was extremely concerned that someone would threaten to have her run over for a bounty," prosecutor Philip Stott said.

"She took the threat seriously, and it contributed to her employing professional security for her protection."

'Muslim friends'

Lord St Davids, who was defending himself, accepted writing the posts but told the court they were not publicly visible or menacing.

"If you're in the public eye, people are going to say nasty things about you. It's the rough and tumble of public life," he said.

He insisted he is not racist and told the court: "I know a number of Muslims who are dear friends.

"My own mother is an immigrant from the very same continent (as Ms Miller)."

The case was adjourned until Tuesday afternoon when a verdict is expected.