Pilot convicted of making threats to kill

14/04/2011

A pilot has been convicted of threatening to kill two people, following a plane crash last year.

Justin Adams (46), from Faringdon in Oxfordshire, was convicted unanimously today by a jury after 3.5 hours of deliberations. He had been charged with making five threats to kill, relating to UKIP leader Nigel Farage and crash investigator Martin James, after the accident in May last year, which he denied.

Both Mr Farage and Mr Adams were injured in the light aircraft crash on 6 May, the day of the 2010 general election, after it nose-dived to the ground while towing a campaign banner in Northamptonshire. They were taken to hospital.

Oxford Crown Court heard a telephone call between a police handler and a man calling himself Justin Adams, who claimed to have a 9mm pistol.

CPS prosecutor Alan Blake said: 'There were two victims of the plane crash on Election Day 2010. Each suffered physical injuries and, no doubt, psychological injuries from such a traumatic event. For the pilot, Justin Adams, that crash started a chain of events which caused severe personal and financial disruption. Although he was cleared of any wrongdoing, Mr Adams became embittered and enraged at the investigative process and those involved in it.

'He focused his sense of grievance on the accident investigator, Martin James, and upon his fellow crash victim Nigel Farage, who, he felt, had not done enough to help him get his side of the story into the media. Troubled by depression and alcoholism he repeatedly threatened to kill both men, giving increasingly graphic and detailed accounts of his plans for revenge.

'Although in part no doubt motivated by a desire to get help with his depression, Mr Adams deliberately chose to issue death threats that caused concern to those who were threatened and to those to whom he made the threats. The threats could not be ignored and appropriate action was taken to detain Mr Adams and to establish that his claims to have had a 9mm pistol were, in fact, false.

'Rather than admit his guilt and seek help, Mr Adams sought to persuade the jury that he made the threats without any intent to cause anyone to fear that they would be carried out. The jury saw through this attempt to re-write history and today he was found guilty of making threats to kill. He will be brought back before the courts in due course for sentencing for his crimes.'

Sentencing was adjourned until the week commencing 9 May.