"Totally unacceptable" - MPs blast OAP convicted of sending death threats

"Totally unacceptable" - MPs blast OAP convicted of sending death threats

By Jill Theobald | 01/03/2022

'Totally unacceptable' - MPs blast OAP convicted of sending death threats

THREE MPs sent death threats in “hateful” letters have warned those who abuse public servants that “Your cowardice will be exposed” after the poison pen correspondent was found guilty.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey and parliamentary colleagues Dan Jarvis and Stephanie Peacock condemned the actions of 84-year-old Donald Wood following his conviction in absence after he failed to turn up to court.

Wood was found guilty by a jury on Friday of sending threatening letters to Mr Healey, South Yorkshire mayor and Barnsley Central MP Mr Jarvis, and Ms Peacock MP for Barnsley East, between March 23 and 27, 2019.

South Yorkshire Police said on Monday that Wood had failed to appear for his trial and was thought to have fled to Morocco but they said the following day that he had been tracked down.

In a joint statement, the three South Yorkshire MPs said: “We welcome the court’s verdict and are grateful to South Yorkshire Police for treating this matter with the seriousness it deserved. 

“Whilst we welcome scrutiny and robust debate, there is no place whatsoever for intimidation and death threats. 

“It is totally unacceptable that anyone, including Members of Parliament and especially their staff, should be subject to abuse or intimidation whilst going about their work. 

“Anyone seeking to hide behind hateful, anonymous letters such as those in this case, should know they run the risk that their cowardice will be exposed.”

Wood was convicted following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court of three offences under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 of sending “a letter which conveyed a threat for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom you intended that it or its contents or nature should be communicated”. 

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said Wood, of Roundacre, Barnsley, had “failed to appear at court for his trial” and was due to be sentenced on April 5.

 

 

 

“YOUR cowardice will be exposed” — Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey and two parliamentary colleagues have responded after an 84-year-old man who sent them death threats in “hateful” letters was convicted in his absence after failing to turn up to court.

Donald Wood was found guilty by a jury on Friday of sending threatening letters to Mr Healey, South Yorkshire Combined Authority Mayor and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, and Stephanie Peacock MP for Barnsley East, between March 23 and 27, 2019.

In a joint statement, the three South Yorkshire MPs said: “We welcome the court’s verdict and are grateful to South Yorkshire Police for treating this matter with the seriousness it deserved. 

“Whilst we welcome scrutiny and robust debate, there is no place whatsoever for intimidation and death threats. 

“It is totally unacceptable that anyone, including Members of Parliament and especially their staff, should be subject to abuse or intimidation whilst going about their work. 

“Anyone seeking to hide behind hateful, anonymous letters such as those in this case, should know they run the risk that their cowardice will be exposed.”

Wood was convicted of three offences under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court of sending “a letter which conveyed a threat for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom you intended that it or its contents or nature should be communicated”.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said Wood, of Roundacre, Barnsley, had “failed to appear at court for his trial”.

They added: “Wood is due to be sentenced on 5 April 2022. If he has not returned by that date, he will be sentenced in his absence.”