Man pleads guilty to sending racist messages to 22 MPs
A man has pleaded guilty to sending grossly offensive messages to 22 Members of Parliament including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Diane Abbott MP, Tulip Siddiq MP and Suella Braverman KC.
Benjamin Price, 32, of Belmont Road, Hereford, pleaded guilty today (24 May 2023) to 26 charges of sending emails to the MPs that were grossly offensive or of an indecent or obscene character.
Price sent the first racially abusive email in January 2022 and subsequent emails over a three-day period between 19 to 21 November 2022. Of the 26 emails in total, 18 of them contained racist abuse directed towards the recipient. The remaining eight emails were sent to MPs of varying ethnicities and included content that was grossly offensive.
He was initially arrested on 23 November 2022 for the first six offences and answered no comment during his police interview.
Following a mobile phone seizure and digital forensic investigation by the police, further victims were identified. He was arrested again on 4 January 2023 and admitted he had sent the emails.
The defendant stated that he had no specific intention in sending the emails but accepted that he was racist and had targeted many of the MPs because of their race.
Today, he pleaded guilty to all 26 charges at his first hearing at Hereford Magistrates’ Court. He will be sentenced on 20 June 2023.
Richard Purchase of the CPS said: “Members of Parliament have difficult jobs to perform which leave them open to public scrutiny but that is no excuse for Benjamin Price’s behaviour. It is unacceptable for people to subject MPs to personalised abuse, including discriminatory abuse. In circumstances such as these, those who behave in this way will be breaking the law if they send emails that are grossly offensive, and we will always prosecute when our legal tests are met. Mr Price has accepted that he sent such emails and has pleaded guilty to the charges he faced.”
Notes to editors
- Richard Purchase is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands.