Wajid Shah, 27, was jailed for two years after being found guilty of six counts of sending threatening communications to lawmakers, including a death threat to former Prime Minister Theresa May. The court heard that Shah had sent messages to those connected to British immigration laws over fears his mother would fail her citizenship test.
The Slough resident was first arrested for sending threatening messages in March 2019 and was rearrested the following month after he continued to send malicious communications. Charged in September 2019, he was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court on October 6th after a six-day trial and was sentenced on Friday.
Thames Valley Police said that all the communications sent via email had “conveyed a threat with the sole purpose of causing distress or anxiety to the recipient”.
Shah had sent messages to then-Prime Minister May as well as past and present serving parliamentarians in the Labour and Conservative parties, according to the BBC.
In an impact statement read on behalf of the former Conservative leader, it was revealed that while Mrs May was used to receiving threatening messages, it was the fact that Shah lived so close to her Maidenhead constituency and the “extremely offensive, threatening and disturbing” nature of the messages that left her “feeling anxious and concerned”.
Mrs May, who Shah threatened to kill “with a knife or gun”, added that “what made this one different was the explicit and repeated threat to kill me”.
He had also sent messages to MP Tan Dhesi and former MP and current Member of the House of Lords Mark Lancaster, in which he threatened to cut off their heads. The threats against Mr Dhesi, which included a racist slur, were taken so seriously by police that the Slough Labour MP was advised to leave his constituency office.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 5, 2020
Former Conservative immigration minister Caroline Nokes was also targetted with a message that said: “I’m going to kill you fucking bitchh and I’m going to kill you fucking bitch.”
Ms Nokes noted that the email she received indicated that Shah had done some research on her constituency, leaving her with the feeling that the threat was reminiscent of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed outside of a library where she was holding a surgery in 2016.
Shah had also sent former Labour minister Lord David Blunkett abusive messages, calling him a “regarded blind bastard” in two emails.
Prosecutor Barry McElduff had told jurors that Shah was concerned that his mother Noreen Shah would fail her naturalisation test because she speaks “little or no English”, as he often had to act as her translator.
“Wajid had considerable anxiety about her necessity should it arise to complete the UK citizenship test.
“And the UK citizenship test sits alongside the allegations of this case for this reason.
“Many of the persons that received abusive emails in this case either had a direct link to the UK immigration test or a perceived link to the UK immigration test,” Mr McElduff said, according to the Daily Mail.
Judge Philip Bartle QC agreed, telling the court that Shah’s “motivation” for threatening and harassing lawmakers was connected to his mother’s “immigration matters” and the “UK citizens’ test”, and that he had “carefully” chosen the recipients over their links to immigration laws.
Shah was described in court as having a “very low IQ” of 58 and “severe learning difficulties”, but it was found that he did not have mental health issues. The judge also noted that despite his recorded impairments, he was able to carefully plan his abuses against lawmakers based on their connection to immigration and their proximity to him, at times sending the messages using false names.
Following his sentencing, Thames Valley Police said in a statement that the messages were “too violent and graphic to describe”, with one of such a threatening nature that it triggered the evacuation of a building.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 22, 2020