Man jailed for threatening to 'cut' Tory MP Lucy Frazer

The trial took place at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL
The trial took place at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL

A man who threatened to "cut" a female MP in an abusive voicemail has been jailed for six months.

Zackary Welsh, 23, left the message for South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer after comments she made about Scotland.

South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer. Picture: Twitter

South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer. Picture: Twitter

Welsh, from Edinburgh, was sentenced at the sheriff court in Edinburgh today after pleading guilty to leaving the threatening and abusive voicemail, which Sheriff Donald Corke described as "an appalling act of intimidation".

Passing sentence, the sheriff said: "You left a vile, vulgar and abusive voicemail message on the constituency telephone of Lucy Frazer QC, the member of parliament for South East Cambridgeshire.

"You made a threat to come down and cut her if she did not apologise for remarks she made about Scotland. This is a truly appalling act of intimidation, not least because of the tragic death of Jo Cox MP."

He added: "Whether you like it or not, you are not the voice of the people of Scotland. Whether you like it or not, MPs are entitled and required to speak as they see fit, without fear or favour. They are answerable to the Speaker, to the law where privilege does not apply, and to their constituents. You are perfectly entitled to comment, but in a lawful manner."

The sheriff said Welsh, who had no previous convictions, was "fortunate" the case was tried in a summary court where there is a 12-month sentencing limit.

The sheriff said Welsh's age, lack of record and early guilty plea had been taken into account in arriving at the sentence.

He added: "Particular difficulties are faced by women MPs, who are often subjected to misogynistic, sick and perverted abuse. This is an attempt by those without their talent or sense of public duty to demean and control them and ultimately exclude them from public service. The threats and abuse you indulged in would clearly be intensely distressing to your target, her staff, and her family.

"Notwithstanding your lack of previous convictions, no method of dealing with you other than a custodial sentence is appropriate, given the gravity and nature of this offence. Any sentence other than custody would serve to diminish the gravity of this offence and encourage others to believe that they can behave in like manner without meaningful consequences."

Ms Frazer, a Tory MP, apologised after comments she made in the House of Commons in 2015 about Scots being sent as "slaves to the colonies" after Oliver Cromwell's victory at the battle of Dunbar in 1650.