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Man sentenced for sending threats to former Labour shadow minister

|News, Cyber / online crime

A 46-year-old Stockport man has been given a suspended prison sentence for sending a threatening message to former Labour shadow minister, Jack Dromey.

Jack Dromey, former Labour shadow minister, was working at his home in London on 12 November 2020 when a member of his staff informed him that a male not known to him, Phillip Dowbekin, had sent an abusive, threatening message to his Facebook account.

Mr Dromey reported the offence to West Midlands police who passed the matter to Greater Manchester police when Dowbekin was traced to the Greater Manchester area. He was arrested at an address in Stockport and went on to make no comment in his police interview.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) worked closely with the police to build a strong case, including proving that the Facebook message was sent from an IP address linked to the address where Phillip Dowbekin was arrested.

Sadly, Mr Dromey passed away before the case came before the court, but the strength of evidence meant the case could proceed without his evidence.

At the first court hearing on 7 April 2022, Dowbekin had no option but to plead guilty to the charge of sending a menacing message through the public telecommunication network.

Philip Dowbek was sentenced to eight weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. He was also given a 12-month community order with 25 Rehabilitation Activity days and 100 hours unpaid work.

Emily Lloyd, for the CPS, said: "Sadly, Mr Dromey passed away before the case concluded, but it is clear from his initial account to the police that he believed the threats made against him were genuine.

"The CPS were able to continue with the prosecution because a forensic analysis of the data provided sufficient evidence to link the Facebook message to Phillip Dowbekin.

"Everyone has the right to go about their lives without fear of being harassed or threatened. MPs as public servants have a difficult job to do, they are subject to constant public scrutiny. This does not mean that they should have to tolerate abuse being directed at them.

"I hope this case serves as a reminder that the CPS will robustly prosecute those who take to their computers to spread fear and hatred."

Notes to editors

  • Emily Lloyd is a District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West.

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