UK

Rhodri Colwyn Philipps jailed over Gina Miller post

Rhodri Colwyn Philipps, 4th Viscount St Davids arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Image copyright PA
Image caption Rhodri Colwyn Philipps called Gina Miller a 'troublesome first generation immigrant'

An aristocrat who wrote an online post offering £5,000 to anyone who ran over businesswoman Gina Miller has been sentenced to 12 weeks in prison.

Rhodri Colwyn Philipps - the 4th Viscount St Davids - posted on Facebook four days after Ms Miller won a Brexit legal challenge against the government.

Philipps, 50, of Knightsbridge, central London, was found guilty of two charges of making menacing communications.

The other count related to his response to a news article about an immigrant.

At his Westminster Magistrates' Court trial Philipps claimed the post about Ms Miller was a "joke" and a "conversation piece for his Facebook friends".

He called his comments "satire".

Senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said she had "no doubt it was menacing".

She told the peer the post effectively put a "bounty" on Ms Miller's head and had left the businesswoman "shocked" and feeling "violated."

'Wholly disgraceful'

Philipps had written: "£5,000 for the first person to 'accidentally' run over this bloody troublesome first generation immigrant."

Describing Ms Miller as a "boat jumper", he added: "If this is what we should expect from immigrants, send them back to their stinking jungles."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Businesswoman Gina Miller campaigned for Parliament to have a say over Brexit

Giving evidence to the trial, Ms Miller - who was born in Guyana - said she had been the subject of death threats since her role in November's legal challenge which ruled the government had to consult Parliament before formally beginning the Brexit process.

The other post Philipps was convicted over was about an immigrant and his family in Luton who were involved in a row over housing.

Before sentencing, defence lawyer Sabrina Felix told the court Philipps understood how his actions had "impacted" on the subjects of his posts, and "he only hopes, wishes and prays that they do accept his sincere apology".

Ms Felix added "he accepts that the comments were wholly disgraceful" and "menacing in character".

But the judge said Philipps was "so clearly showing hostility to Ms Miller based on her race or ethnic origin that I find it ludicrous that he should say otherwise".

Ms Arbuthnot said the the peer had a hatred of anyone who had different views to his and "anyone who has recently arrived in the country".

She added: "You show this hatred by publicly directing abusive threats at others which is a criminal offence in this multi-racial society we are lucky enough to live in."

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