Man guilty of harassing Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger – BBC News

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Image caption Luciana Berger said it was the “most concerned” she had ever been about her personal safety since being elected

A man has been found guilty of the racially-aggravated harassment of an MP after sending anti-Semitic rants.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 24, wrote five hate-filled blogs harassing Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger in 2014, a jury at the Old Bailey was told.

Ms Berger told the court she “felt sick” and “very much under attack”.

Bonehill-Paine, of Yeovil, Somerset, posted the articles after the jailing of fellow far-right extremist Garron Helm in October the same year.

Helm, then 21, from Merseyside, had admitted sending a picture on Twitter depicting Ms Berger, 35, with a holocaust-era Star of David on her forehead and the hashtag “Hitler was right”.

Over the next four months, Bonehill-Paine posted articles online calling her “an evil money-grabber” and claiming the number of Jewish Labour MPs was a “problem”.

Speaking after the verdict, Ms Berger insisted racist abuse and harassment over the internet is a “horrific crime”.

‘Feared for safety’

She said: “The protracted campaign of vitriol and hate had a deep impact on me and on the people around me – my family and my fantastic team.

“If any good can come from this awful experience, I hope that it will send a strong signal to anyone experiencing harassment – you do not have to suffer in silence.

“I’d encourage everyone to report these crimes. Together, we can show, that they are not, nor will they ever be tolerated.”

Giving evidence, Ms Berger said she feared for her safety because “what happens online does not always stay online”.

The MP said: “It’s fair to say I was the most concerned I have ever been about my personal safety since I was elected.”

Bonehill-Paine’s conviction comes after neo-Nazi Thomas Mair, 53, was handed a whole life term at the same court for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

Image caption Joshua Bonehill-Paine wrote five hate-filled blogs about Ms Berger

In July, another internet troll, John Nimmo, 28, from South Shields, was convicted of making a death threat against Ms Berger by saying she would “get it like Jo Cox”.

During his trial, Bonehill-Paine was awaiting sentence for making claims on Twitter that several people were paedophiles.

He is currently serving three years and four months in jail over a conviction in December last year for posting anti-Semitic material ahead of a planned neo-Nazi rally in Golders Green – home to many London-based Jews.

Mr Justice Spencer said he would adjourn sentencing to consider an application for a criminal behaviour order.

The maximum sentence for the racially aggravated offence is seven years.

Read more: www.bbc.co.uk

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