Councillor Ken Gregory cautioned for 'get Aids' voicemail

A Tory councillor who left a message saying "with a bit of luck you'll get Aids" on another councillor's phone has been cautioned by police.

Ken Gregory, a member of Thanet council in Kent, received a caution for malicious communications on Wednesday.

John Worrow, who is bisexual and an Independent on Thanet District Council, received the voicemail message on his mobile phone earlier in May.

Mr Gregory has been suspended from the Thanet council Conservative group.

'Cannot possibly remain'

Mr Worrow said: "Last night I received a telephone call from an inspector from Kent Police confirming that Councillor Ken Gregory is the person who committed a homophobic hate crime against me in the form of a voicemail.

"As Mr Gregory cannot possibly remain a member of the Conservative Party or a member of Thanet District Council after saying 'With a bit of luck you'll get Aids', I feel that a caution should be punishment enough.

"My colleagues and I hope that this has not triggered a hate campaign.

"There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for that kind of behaviour towards anyone regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexuality and I expect a full apology at the next council meeting."

A spokesman for Kent Police said: "A 59-year-old man from the Ramsgate area was given a caution yesterday for an offence of malicious communications."

In April, Thanet District Council became the first local authority in Kent to officially support the government's proposals for same-sex marriage.

Independent Councillor Ian Driver moved the motion in support of equal marriage and said he hoped it would encourage other Kent councils to follow its lead.

'Complete ignorance'

A statement issued by Conservative Councillor Bob Bayford, shadow leader of the hung council, said: "It has come to my attention that Councillor Ken Gregory has received a police caution for an offence against another council member.

"The Thanet District Council Conservative group demands the highest standards of conduct from its members and I have decided to suspend group membership from Councillor Gregory with immediate effect, pending further consideration of the situation."

Paul Rollins, from the gay campaign group Thanet Pride, said Mr Gregory's comments showed "complete ignorance of the Aids issue".

He said: "This sort of homophobic behaviour is an insult to the general community rather than people who are just gay and lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

"I find it appalling that an elected representative would use a cowardly and illegal phone message to try to get some strange point across."

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