Man found not guilty of stalking Taunton MP Rebecca Pow

Maurice Kirk Court Arrival 130520
Maurice Kirk arriving at court on May 13, 2021. Credit: ITV

A former vet sobbed as he was found not guilty of stalking his MP after telling a jury he was trying to enlist her help.

Maurice Kirk told the court he was trying to get support from Taunton MP Rebecca Pow in a long-running dispute with the police.

Kirk - representing himself - gave evidence at trial to say he never intended to cause the Environment Minister anxiety or stress.

The 76-year-old, of Westgate Street, denied one charge of stalking that caused serious alarm or distress. He sobbed as the jury at Exeter Crown Court gave a not guilty verdict, after more than six hours of deliberation.

Judge Peter Johnson imposed a seven-year restraining order which restricts Kirk from contacting Pow via e-mails or letters to the House of Commons.

He was also banned from going to her constituency office at the great Western Hotel in Taunton, or her home in a village outside the town.

The restraining order also prohibits him from making any comments about her on social media or his website.

Rebecca Pow at an environment initiative in Somerset earlier this month. Credit: ITV West Country

Kirk is a former vet who found fame during the 1960s and 1970s as a stunt pilot. He has run a one-man campaign against the police for almost 50 years after being accused of firearm offences in 1972.

Kirk claimed he had been framed in a case in which he was accused of fitting a real Lewis machine gun to a First World War bi-plane, which he flew at air displays.

The dispute led to a very long series of civil and criminal court cases, resulting in a jail sentence for harassing a psychiatrist who had diagnosed him as being paranoid.

The court heard Kirk sent a letter to Pow's home in a village near Taunton when he was in Cardiff Prison in May 2019. The court heard letter contained white powder, and sought the MPs help with his campaign.

The letter led to the area around Pow's home being sealed off as she feared the package contained anthrax spores.

Kirk told the court he had no knowledge of the powder but assumed it was toothpaste he had used to stick documents together which had dried while his letter was in transit.

Kirk continued trying to get a response from the MP after being released from jail later in 2019 and was alleged to have harassed her staff in May 2020 before going to her home to hand-deliver a second letter.

He denied each of the specific allegations against him. He said he had not been abusive to Ms Pow’s constituency staff.

Pow told the court she felt sick with fear and could not sleep, particularly after seeing a post on Kirk’s website which showed two images of her next to a photo of him toting a gun over his shoulder.

The Judge ordered Kirk to remove a post which he put up while the jury were considering their verdict.

The post commented on the case at Exeter Crown Court and made allegations of fraud against a firm of estate agents where Pow’s late husband worked.

Kirk agreed to all the terms of the order, other than the ban on posting about Pow on social media.

He said he wanted to write about this trial but had no further interest in Pow.

Kirk was admitted to hospital on Wednesday with chest pains but released after tests. He said he felt too tired to apply for costs after his acquittal.

In a statement Rebecca Pow said: “I would like to thank those who have supported me over the past two years especially  my dedicated  staff and my close family.“I welcome the decision to apply a robust restraining order for my protection so that Mr Kirk’s behaviour towards me as an MP is properly regulated in future.”

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