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Oxfordshire man handed restraining order for sending offensive and threatening email to Jeremy Hunt MP

|News, Cyber / online crime

A man who sent a threatening email to MP Jeremy Hunt in late 2022 has today been sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, following his guilty plea earlier this year. He was also handed a five-year restraining order, preventing him from making any direct or indirect contact with Mr Hunt.

Robert Fairchild, 38, sent the message to Mr Hunt’s email address on 19 October 2022. The MP’s secretary alerted Mr Hunt and the police after reading the email and finding its content concerning; one part in particular told Mr Hunt his “house will be on fire this winter”.

Fairchild attended his first hearing at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 18 January 2023, where he pleaded guilty to sending an offensive or menacing email. 

CPS lawyer Aamir Barrett said: “Robert Fairchild’s words were offensive, with threats of physical violence. He claimed he is not a violent man by nature, and that he was simply angry about the ongoing energy crisis. 

“There is no excuse for sending anyone online abuse. Regardless of whether he intended to follow through on his threats, Fairchild undoubtedly intended to cause serious distress to Mr Hunt. 

“Fairchild made no attempt to hide his identity when he sent his message. It is easy to think that, because we are often faceless behind a keyboard, we can say what we like and remain beyond the realms of facing justice. However, no one is above the law, and we will always prosecute cases like these whenever our legal test is met. 

Notes to editors

  • Robert Fairchild (D.O.B. 16 November 1984) pleaded guilty to one charge of sending an offensive or menacing message by public communication network at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 18 January 2023. 
  • He was sentenced at the same court on Monday 20 February 2023. He was sentenced to:
    • 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months
    • Pay costs totalling £239
    • 80 hours of unpaid work
    • A five-year restraining order
  • Aamir Barrett is a crown prosecutor for CPS Thames and Chiltern. 

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