Southampton man jailed after threatening Caroline

Southampton man jailed after threatening Caroline Nokes

Liam McCarthy, of Copperfield Road, Southampton, was sentenced to seven months in prison for the threats to Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes between May 15, 2022 and March 4, 2023.

He also sent threatening voicemails for Steve Smith, former head of stronger communities, neighbourhoods and housing, at Southampton City Council between November 14 and 21, 2022.

McCarthy pleaded guilty to both charges.

READ MORE: Man threatened to ‘destroy’ MP

Southampton Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday how McCarthy had ongoing issues with the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Victoria Hill, prosecuting, told the court how McCarthy had arranged a Teams meeting with Ms Nokes in 2022 to discuss what he described as a lack of support for people aged between 18-25, but he cancelled it. 

He then proceeded to send her a raft of emails calling her ‘evil’ and ‘a liar’.

Ms Hill said: “The emails continued and in August 2022 they started to become threatening. At that stage the defendant was saying he would become violent towards members of the Department for Work and Pensions, he said he would kill them, he followed that up by saying he wouldn’t kill them but would really hurt them.

“Caroline Nokes responded saying she wouldn’t tolerate threatening or abusive emails but the emails continued from August into September in the same vein.

“There were repeated emails over quite some period. At one point he was threatening to destroy another MP, Alan Whitehead [Labour MP for Southampton Test].”

READ MORE: Caroline Nokes scared for election candidates

Ms Hill read some of a victim statement provided by Ms Nokes. She described McCarthy as an “obsessed individual” and said his behaviour was “frightening”. 

She added: “I’m scared he will turn up at my home or office. I spend a great deal of time worrying about personal security. I’m vigilant of people approaching me in the street. I’m worried he will take violent action. I constantly look over my shoulder.”

The court heard that McCarthy was arrested in December 2022 with bail conditions to not contact her. But he broke them by emailing her the following January and March. 

READ MORE: Man who threatened to ‘destroy’ MP remanded in custody

McCarthy left a series of threatening voicemails to Mr Smith which included threats such as “I’m going to come into your office with a machete and slice you all apart” and “If I ever see you, I’m going to strangle you”.

Jane Hyatt, mitigating, said: “This is an extremely worrying case. His behaviour was substantially influenced by his emotional distress over his housing situation. He felt he had a lack of support.”

District Judge Anthony Callaway said: “People in difficult positions deserve to go about their work without threats of violence. You were warned about your interactions with Caroline Nokes and you breached your bail conditions. This is a very serious matter. Considering evil, you should look yourself in the mirror.” 

McCarthy was jailed for five months for harassing Ms Nokes and two months for harassing Mr Smith. They will be served consecutively. He was also given an indefinite restraining order to not contact both of them.

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