Man who threatened MP Louise Mensch banned from contacting celebrities

An internet troll who sent a threatening email to MP Louise Mensch has been banned from contacting her or her husband.

Frank Zimmerman from Barnwood, Gloucester, has also been barred from contacting celebrities including Lord Sugar and a former British Army chief.

Last year Zimmerman, 60, emailed the MP for Corby telling her to stop using Twitter or face the consequences.

He was given a six month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

In April, Zimmerman was convicted of sending by public communication network an offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing message or matter.

He failed to attend court on that occasion, blaming agoraphobia and depression.

He failed to attend sentencing on Friday and was arrested on Monday for breach of bail and taken to court by police.

'Terrified' for children

At Cheltenham Magistrates' Court earlier, Zimmerman was given a restraining order which prevents him contacting Mrs Mensch, her husband Peter and her ex-husband, property developer Anthony LoCicero.

He is also prevented from contacting Lord Sugar, businessman and star of The Apprentice television show, and Terence Blacker, a columnist with the Independent newspaper and Zimmerman's former neighbour in London.

Image caption Zimmerman has been told not to contact Mrs Mensch or her husband

Zimmerman is also barred from contacting General Sir Mike Jackson, the one-time head of the British Army and David Petraeus, former US Army commander in Iraq and Afghanistan and now director of the CIA.

At a previous hearing, the court was told Zimmerman emailed Mrs Mensch after she suggested social networking sites could be closed by police during last summer's riots.

In the email he said the mother-of-three faced "Sophie's choice" - a reference to a novel in which heroine Sophie has to choose between the life of her son or daughter at a Nazi concentration camp.

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

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mrs Mensch said: "I was terrified on behalf of my children."

The email was traced to the IP address of Zimmerman's home computer who blamed hackers for sending it.

District Judge Martin Brown told Zimmerman that if he breached the restraining order, he could be jailed for up to five years.

Zimmerman was also given a four-week sentence for the breach of bail, which he admitted, to run concurrently to the 26-week sentence, and ordered to pay £300 prosecution costs.

The district judge said he had decided against banning Zimmerman from using a computer.

"It had been my intention to prohibit him from using a computer and I accept the human rights angle and I accept the problems of policing that," he said.

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