Ex-Brexit party candidate who said Labor MP Dawn Butler ‘deserved a bullet to the head’ has been spared jail

A former Brexit Party candidate who suggested a shot at Labor MP Dawn Butler’s leader would be ‘very well deserved’ has been spared jail time.

Stephen Peddie, 61, wrote the tweet on February 21 last year, in response to another post from social commentator Toby Young.

Mr Young’s tweet claimed the MP for Brent was using taxpayers’ money to fund a jacuzzi at a north London property while claiming his primary residence was in east London.

Peddie, a potential parliamentary candidate for the Kent constituency of Tonbridge and Malling in 2019, who resigned in protest against Nigel Farage’s election strategy, replied: “Blatant theft at a time of national emergency”. Someone please explain to me why a bullet to the back of the neck is anything but justified and fully deserved.

Ms Butler, 52, then shared Peddie’s Tweet and denied the Jacuzzi claims, which she described as a “decade” and an “incorrect story”.

Peddie denied sending a public communication of a threatening nature, but was found guilty following a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last month.

Now Peddie has been sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to perform 180 hours of unpaid work, as well as pay Ms Butler £200 compensation, plus £500 costs and an additional £128.

Stephen Peddie, 61, was a potential parliamentary candidate for the Kent constituency of Tonbridge and Malling in 2019 before quitting in protest at Nigel Farage’s election strategy.

Labor MP Dawn Butler (pictured), 52, shared Peddie's Tweet and denied the jacuzzi claims, which she described as a story

Labor MP Dawn Butler (pictured), 52, shared Peddie’s Tweet and denied the jacuzzi claims, which she described as a ‘decade old’ and ‘incorrect’ story.

At yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Ms Butler, the former shadow minister for women and equalities, read out a victim impact statement in which she described a ‘relentless onslaught of hate end” which had forced her to stop using public transport.

She said: ‘My dear friend Jo Cox was so brutally shot and stabbed repeatedly for simply doing her job in her own constituency.

“Since this incident people like Mr Peddie with an endless onslaught of hate have caused me deep concern.

“My house has been fitted with bars over the doors and cameras to make me feel safe. I inform the police of my movements and no longer use public transport.

“There are times when my family and friends pressure me to leave this job for my safety, but I will not be intimidated by submission and silence.

“I have since discovered that Mr. Peddie had firearms and that they were confiscated after his arrest.”

Peddie, who is retired and said he spends most of his time driving his Range Rover, fishing and tending to his home in Edenbridge, Kent, maintains his innocence and says that he wanted to appeal his conviction.

Speaking from the dock, he said: ‘Can I just say my sincere belief is that my tweet was rude but was not legally threatening.

“For more than two days it remained on Young’s Twitter page, seen by thousands of people. It remained without comment.

Last month, Judge Briony Clarke sentenced Peddie for sending a public communication of a threatening nature over the tweet (pictured)

Last month, Judge Briony Clarke sentenced Peddie for sending a public communication of a threatening nature over the tweet (pictured)

“If my conviction stands, it would pose a serious threat to freedom of expression.

“I couldn’t reasonably expect Dawn Butler to have seen my tweet on Young’s account and she didn’t. She received the tweet from a third party.

Judge Briony Clarke said she sentenced it on the grounds that “it may create fear and apprehension in any member of the public who reads it”.

“You mentioned today that you intended to appeal,” she said. “It’s entirely up to you and it’s your right to do it.

“Notwithstanding that, I think you will appreciate that I have to convict you today based on the findings I have made.

Peddie, of Edenbridge, Kent, denied but was found guilty of sending a public communication of a threatening nature.

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