Kent

Case dropped in Facebook 'gun threat' to Craig Mackinlay MP

Post on Craig Mackinlay's Facebook page Image copyright Facebook
Image caption A message was posted on Craig Mackinlay's Facebook page

A man accused of posting a threatening message on an MP's Facebook page days after the killing of politician Jo Cox has had the case against him dropped.

Mark Verier, 28, had pleaded not guilty to sending offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing communications.

The post on South Thanet Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay's page on 18 June included gun and knife emojis and the message: "Another MP that needs..."

It happened two days after Mrs Cox was attacked in her constituency.

'Sick joke'

Margate magistrates were told the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) concluded the Facebook comment did not meet the bar of being grossly offensive.

The court heard Mr Verier, of Ramsgate High Street, Kent, told police the post was a joke, albeit a sick one.

The CPS said the decision to charge Mr Verier was based on a file of evidence received from Kent Police.

"As with all cases, it was subject to further review and the decision was taken that it did not meet the high threshold for prosecuting such offences," it said in a statement.

"Therefore, the case was discontinued."

Image caption Craig Mackinlay was elected MP for South Thanet in 2015

Mr Mackinlay said he was grateful to Kent Police for handling the matter with the seriousness.

"I am continuing to upgrade security for my staff and family who face the brunt of [cyber] attacks," he added.

Labour MP Mrs Cox, 41, died after being shot and stabbed in the West Yorkshire village of Birstall.

A man has been charged with her murder.

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