A man found guilty of making a death threat to an ex-councillor at a polling station has been sentenced to 12 weeks in prison.
Stephen McIntyre, 45, said ‘what happened to Jo Cox will happen to you’ to Vino Vijayakumar, also known as Vino Vinojan, in a fit of rage outside the Tarring Priory Bowls Club building, in Church Road, on June 8 – the day of the general election.
At the trial on Thursday, September 14, the court heard how the incident had prompted Mr Vijayakumar, who also owns a security company, to go home and get a stab-proof vest because he ‘was in fear of his safety’.
McIntyre, of Upton Road, West Tarring, was found guilty of threatening behaviour with the intent to cause fear of unlawful violence.
At his sentencing at Worthing Magistrates’ Court today (Monday, October 9), District Judge Christopher James said: “You were found guilty on an extremely unpleasant offence.
“The threats that you made were clearly designed to cause fear and terror, referring to a particularly horrific incident which was disturbing in its own right, therefore to make reference to that event is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified.
“Clearly it caused fear, alarm and distress to the individual.
“Others witnessed it and it was on a voting day – itself all aggravating factors.”
He said the fact that McIntyre had no previous convictions and had not planned the offence were mitigating factors.
“It is clear to me there was a history of antagonism, and that the threats were directed at him because of the previous history,” Mr James said.
The court had previously heard that McIntyre formed a grudge against the former Worthing Borough councillor when a £360 parcel he had posted via Mr Vijayakumar’s newsagents, Taylor’s Newsagents in South Street, Tarring, went missing.
McIntyre will serve half of his 12-week custodial sentence before being released on license.
He will be subject to 12 months of post-sentence supervision and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.
McIntyre was given a restraining order not to contact Mr Vijayakumar or go to Taylor’s Newsagents for two years.