Durham councillor 'death threats' man sentenced

Durham County Hall
Image caption,
David Lindsay was upset over the council's decision to change the terms and conditions of teaching assistants

A man who claimed contracts had been put on the lives of Durham councillors has been handed a suspended sentence.

David Linsday sent an anonymous letter which caused them "alarm and distress", Durham Crown Court was told.

The 42-year-old, of Foxhill Crescent, Lanchester, was earlier convicted of one count of malicious communication and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He has now been sentenced to a total of 16 months suspended for two years.

The court was told that Lindsay, a political blogger, had an issue with the council, which had voted to change the terms and conditions of its teaching assistants, which included his mother.

In February 2017 he sent a "poison pen letter" to the chief constable of Durham Police claiming contracts had been taken out on the lives of the 57 sitting councillors and a number of prospective candidates.

When this was communicated to them it caused "distress and alarm", and in a victim impact statement one said it had brought back memories of the time she lived in Belfast during the troubles.

'Bizarre offences'

Lindsay denied sending the letter, claiming that a fingerprint found on the envelope came about because he used a public library.

Then while on bail pending trial, he then arranged for a fellow blogger in the US to send warning letters to himself, and to two local clergymen.

The judge described them as "bizarre offences" and sentenced him to 12 months for the malicious communication and a further four for attempting to pervert the course of justice, to run consecutively, and suspended for two years.

He also ordered him to serve 300 hours of community service.

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