Troll who called Labour MP Clive Lewis 'paedophile' after support for trans woman is spared jail

Paul Fogg leaving court after being handed a suspended sentence. Credit: BPM Media

An internet troll who accused a Labour politician of being a paedophile because of his support for trans women has been spared jail.

Paul Fogg became enraged after reading in a local newspaper article that Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, was in support of trans women breastfeeding babies, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard on Wednesday.

Fogg, 40, of Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth, made a string of Facebook posts - described by the judge as "abhorrent" - and left the MP a telephone message, calling him a "dirty paedophile" because of his public support for a trans woman who had been pilloried online after appearing on TV in July last year.

Prosecutor Nathan Paine-Davey told how Mr Lewis signed a letter in support of trans woman Mika Minio-Paluello after she received "a torrent of abuse" following her interview as a struggling mum on a national news programme.

About a week later, Mr Lewis saw a graphic of her on social media, holding a baby to her chest, with the message "Clive Lewis MP supports this".

In response, the one-time Labour leadership candidate wrote: "100 per cent proud to support this. That the best you've got? Bring it...", triggering another wave of abuse, the court heard.

Clive Lewis MP Credit: ITV News Anglia

Prosecutor Mr Paine-Davey said: "He was contacted by anti-trans activists and members of the far-right."

Fogg was one of those who joined the abuse, writing a series of obscene, and unfounded, Facebook posts.

At the end of the voicemail, Fogg also said: "I'm Paul Fogg, come and nick me."

A few months later, police did arrest him and he gave no comment under questioning.

Fogg was later charged with two counts of sending an article conveying an offensive message to which he pleaded guilty in November.

At Wednesday's hearing, the court heard Fogg already had a previous conviction for malicious communications directed towards a work colleague dating back to 2013.

Since the conviction, Fogg started his own asbestos removal business, earning around £50,000 in profit a year, but fell ill in 2023 and was forced to rely on benefits.

Defending, Ian Fisher said his client had been off work with sciatica and stomach acid issues and was depressed, living alone.

Mr Fisher said that Fogg had been mixing alcohol with his medication at the time of the messages, and added: "It was all done on his mobile phone, on one day. And what appears to have stimulated this was a headline in a local newspaper."

The barrister said Fogg had reacted to the comments on the news report, then posted to his own Facebook wall before sharing to Mr Lewis' public wall.

Staff from Mr Lewis's office of Mr Lewis removed the posts and made sure the MP never listened to the voicemail before reporting them to Norfolk Police.

"He read the comments and followed the thread, and started to get worked up and jumped on the bandwagon," said Mr Fisher. "I'm not saying he's a man in the dark shouting in the wind, but he does not have much of a platform or following."

Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring said: "What you said was abhorrent, disgusting, and, in some cases, disturbing."

He said MPs were expected to have thick skin, but were victims "like anyone else".

He said he was suspending the sentenced as he accepted Fogg's "genuine remorse" and concluded the abuse arose against the backdrop of "depression, isolation, and alcohol".

"I am fairly clear this is not something you would have done sober, and not something you would have done if you were not antagonised by the material you read," added Judge Goldspring.

Fogg was given two six-week sentences for each count, both suspended for 12 months. He must also complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and pay a surcharge of £154.

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