Nigel Farage death threats crash pilot guilty
- 14 April 2011
- From the section Oxford
A pilot has been convicted of threatening to kill UKIP leader Nigel Farage following a plane crash.
A jury found Justin Adams guilty of making five threats relating to Mr Farage and crash investigator Martin James after the accident in May 2010.
Oxford Crown Court heard a telephone call between a police handler and a man calling himself Justin Adams who claimed to have a 9mm pistol.
Adams, 46, of Faringdon, Oxfordshire, denied the five charges.
Both Mr Farage and Adams were injured in the light aircraft crash on 6 May, the day of the 2010 general election, after it nose-dived to the ground in Northamptonshire while towing a campaign banner. They were both taken to hospital.
Sentencing was adjourned until the week commencing 9 May.
Remanding Adams in custody, Mr Justice Saunders said the defendant was "clearly extremely disturbed" at the time the offences happened.
He added: "He is a man who does need help. If I can find a way of giving him help I will."
Mr Farage said after the verdict: "From beginning to end, this is a very, very sad case indeed.
"It's been my belief all the way through that what Mr Adams needs is help and I don't really believe from our mental health services that he's received that."
The court heard Adams said he had received media offers to talk about the crash, but it had been suggested to him by Mr Farage that he should not speak until after the conclusion of the investigation in his favour.
He claimed friends later informed him Mr Farage was "generating PR as a result of the crash".
The court heard threats were intended to make those receiving them fear they would be carried out.
Within the conversation between the police call handler and the man calling himself Justin Adams in November last year, he was heard to say: "I know where they live, they destroyed my life."
'No other way'
He later added: "I now have a 9mm pistol, I've got the means - I will take them out and then myself."
Adams told the operator he had lost his livelihood, house, wife and child in the wake of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) investigation, the court heard.
Giving evidence in his defence, Adams told the jury that after the crash his mental health had been "rapidly spiralling downhill", as his business and personal relationship deteriorated.
He said he felt he was not receiving the help he needed and made the threats "in the belief and hope I would get put inside".
"I made a decision to make these threats purely to get assistance," he said.
Crown Prosecution Service prosecutor Alan Blake said Adams "focused his sense of grievance" on Mr James and Mr Farage, who, he felt, had not done enough to help him get his side of the story into the media.
"Troubled by depression and alcoholism he repeatedly threatened to kill both men, giving increasingly graphic and detailed accounts of his plans for revenge.
"'Rather than admit his guilt and seek help, Mr Adams sought to persuade the jury that he made the threats without any intent to cause anyone to fear that they would be carried out."