Monday 22 January 2018

Internet troll faces sentence for threats to British MP’s children

Conservative MP Louise Mensch. Photo: PA
Conservative MP Louise Mensch. Photo: PA

Antony Stone

AN internet troll who tried to drive a Tory MP off Twitter with a chilling email threatening the lives of her children will be sentenced today.

Frank Zimmerman, 60, of Barnwood, Gloucester, specifically targeted the outspoken MP for Corby, Northants, Louise Mensch.

He told the mother-of-three she faced "Sophie's Choice" - meaning she would have to pick which one of her children lived or died.

The phrase is a reference to the film Sophie's Choice in which Meryl Streep played a mother with the harrowing choice of which child to save and which to send to a Nazi concentration camp gas chamber.

Zimmerman's sinister email was purportedly sent out by the online hacking group Anonymous.

But when police tracked him down they discovered he was an agoraphobic living in a run-down house in Gloucester.

It was found he used his home computer to send out the message claiming the MP's phones and computer had been hacked.

He went on to warn Mrs Mensch that family images would be posted on the internet unless she stopped using Twitter.

The email carried a torrent of expletives, four-letter words and foul-mouthed insults and left the MP fearing for her children.

Mrs Mensch, 40, who has a Twitter following of 50,000, immediately called in the police and arranged security for her family.

Unbowed, she went on to tweet to followers: "Had some morons threaten my children by email. To those who sent it; get stuffed losers."

Zimmerman's email turned up in the Tory MP's private inbox last August.

Police traced it back to his computer, despite the fact he used a pseudonym, by tracking its unique IP address.

Last month he was found guilty of sending by public communication network an offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing message or matter.

He was convicted in his absence at Gloucester Magistrates Court after failing to turn up to defend himself.

Zimmerman is due to be sentenced at the same court later today.

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