Man jailed for abusive voicemails to Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner

A man who left a number of abusive voicemails for Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner has been jailed for eight weeks.

The MP for Ashton-under-Lyne said she was left "scared out of her wits" after being targeted by Stuart Kelly, 53, in three voicemail messages in October 2021.

Angela Rayner is the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne in Tameside.

In one phone call, Kelly was heard to blame Ms Rayner for the murder of the MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death at a surgery in his Leigh-on-Sea constituency, a claim she found "absolutely devastating".

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard how Kelly linked Ms Rayner's comments at the 2021 Labour Party conference, calling Conservatives "scum", to the fatal attack.

The message said: "I hope your potty mouth and your big Scouse gob is happy that a father of five children is dead you scum.

"You are the only scum on this earth. I hope you get shot just like that poor bloke."

"You contributed to his death, you dirty scum."

In another message, Kelly called Ms Rayner a "f****** Scouse scumbag", while in a third he said: "Murderer, f****** murderer."

Stuart Kelly blamed Angela Rayner for the murder of Sir David Amess in a string of abusive messages.

In a statement read to Westminster Magistrates' Court, Ms Rayner said that while she is "no stranger" to criticism and has developed a "thick skin" during her career - these messages caused her to burst into tears.

"I am scared out of my wits, not only for my own safety but also the safety of my family, children and staff."

"This has left me frightened and caused me to question the job I do."

Ms Rayner said she was left frightened to leave her house, adding: "As a result of the hateful emails and calls I have received, it has completely changed me as a person."

The machine operator pleaded guilty to sending offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing messages at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The court heard that after he was arrested, Kelly, from Halifax in West Yorkshire, said he had "been out for a few drinks" when he left the voicemails and had been feeling "quite angry and sad" about Sir David's death.

Zaki Hashmi, defending, said: "The behaviour was inexcusable, Mr Kelly was drunk. That is an explanation rather than a justification for what he did."

Kelly pleaded guilty to sending offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing messages to Ms Rayner at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring jailed him for eight weeks and handed him a two-year restraining order against the MP.

He said: "These are not expressions of simple political disagreement or upset about a failure to deal with a constituency matter or even a balanced criticism of the comments attributed to Ms Rayner.

"They are offensive, menacing and contain a reference to wishing her to be shot."