MP Louise Mensch death threat email: Man's sentencing delayed

Louise Mensch
Image caption Louise Mensch called police as soon as she received the email

A man who sent a death threat by email to MP Louise Mensch has had his sentencing delayed.

Frank Zimmerman, 60, of Gloucester, threatened the lives of the Corby Conservative MP's children and told her she would have to pick which one lived.

He was arrested by the Metropolitan Police's e-Crime Unit last November.

Judge Martin Brown, at Gloucester Magistrates' Court, adjourned sentence until 7 June for the probation service to prepare a pre-sentence report.

'Sophie's choice'

Last month Zimmerman, of Spinney Road, Barnwood, was convicted of sending by public communication network an offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing message or matter.

He failed to attend the court, blaming agoraphobia and depression, but was convicted after a trial in his absence.

The court heard he sent an email to Northamptonshire MP Mrs Mensch after she spoke out during last summer's riots, calling for the police to be able to close social networking sites temporarily.

He told the 40-year-old mother-of-three she faced "Sophie's choice" - meaning she would have to pick which one of her children lived or died.

Mrs Mensch immediately called the police and arranged security for her family.

The offensive email was later traced to the IP address of Zimmerman's home computer.

Zimmerman is maintaining his innocence and blames hackers for sending the email from his IP address, the court was told.

Arrest warrant threat

The judge said "all sentencing options are going to be considered" and he wanted to make it "plain" that a restraining order would be made.

He told Zimmerman that if he did not attend court on 7 June, a warrant could be issued for his arrest.

The defendant told the court he had no way of getting home or getting to the hearing next month.

He was released on conditional bail until June 7 and told to attend Cheltenham Magistrates' Court for sentencing.

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