A man has admitted calling the office of Tory MP Mike Freer and saying “I’m coming for you” last week.
James Phillips, of Brampton Park Road, north London, pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday afternoon to making a grossly offensive telephone call and assaulting a police officer.
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The incident happened on 31 January, the same day the Finchley and Golders Green MP announced on his website that he will stand down at the next general election following a series of death threats and an arson attack on his constituency office.
Mr Freer’s office received three calls on 31 January, two of which were “heavy breathing” and the third was a “man with a London accent”, prosecutor Adrita Ahmed said.
The caller said “I’m coming for you, you c***, not just Mike Freer but you as well”, Ms Ahmed told the court.
The phone call was recorded and workers in Mr Freer’s office recognised the number as that of 46-year-old Phillips.
He was arrested on Tuesday and taken into custody and was in a cell when he “swung his fist towards” a police officer who “jumped back”, Ms Ahmed said.
The officer said Phillips said to him: “Why is it I’ve been homeless for 20 years, how is it I’ve had rats in my flat?”
Rita Patel, defending, said Phillips has a history of depression and anxiety.
Phillips was given conditional bail by chief magistrate Paul Goldspring until his sentencing on 6 March for a pre-sentence report to be written.
Mr Goldspring told Phillips he “cannot rule out the prospect of a custodial sentence being imposed”.
The Conservative MP for the London seat announced at the start of the month that he will stand down at the next general election over safety fears.
In a letter to his local Conservative association, Mr Freer wrote that it “will be an enormous wrench to step down”, but that the attacks “have weighed heavily on me and my husband, Angelo”.
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The MP revealed that he and his staff had been wearing stab vests when attending scheduled public events in his constituency after learning that the terrorist who murdered veteran MP Sir David Amess, Ali Harbi Ali, had watched his Finchley office before going on to commit his crime.
“There comes a point when the threats to your personal safety become too much,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
He said he has received a raft of death threats and abuse, and an arson attack on his office on Christmas Eve was the “last straw”.
A separate investigation into the arson attack is ongoing, with a man and a woman charged with arson with intent to endanger life.
The two incidents are not being linked, police said.