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Anti-independence troll in court for abusing Fife MP

Douglas Chapman MP was targeted in a series of abusive emails.

Douglas Chapman MP was abused in a series of emails.
Douglas Chapman MP was abused in a series of emails.

A Dunfermline man repeatedly sent abusive messages to local MP Douglas Chapman.

Unemployed lorry driver Graham Epworth, 41, sent emails ranting about the SNP MP’s support for Scottish independence.

He told Mr Chapman to “stop with your comments regards breaking the union” or else he would go to his office.

In the emails, he called the 68-year-old MP for Dunfermline and West Fife a “stupid old idiot” and an “absolute moron”.

He said: “You should be in a care home.”

Abusive messages

At Dunfermline Sheriff Court, Depute fiscal Azrah Yousaf said police officers had visited Epworth’s home at Macbeth Road, warning him to stop the emails.

However, within half-an-hour of them leaving, Epworth sent another message, telling Mr Chapman the officers agreed with him that nothing criminal had occurred and he was “pathetic”.

Having denied his crimes, Epworth was already standing trial when he changed his plea.

He told the court he would plead guilty to stop a witness, who is suffering from serious illness, having to come to court to give evidence.

He stressed that was the only reason for his guilty plea.

The woman, who works for the MP, had started giving evidence from a remote location but there were technical issues on the video-link which led to the sheriff calling a temporary halt to proceedings.

The MP’s constituency office.

When the case resumed, Epworth admitted that between June 19 and 23 2020, he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause fear or alarm.

He repeatedly sent abusive and threatening emails to Douglas Chapman, a serving Member of Parliament, despite being requested to desist and stated he would attend at his office.

Sheriff Susan Duff commented: “A member of any parliament should be able to carry out their job without any sense of fear.”

She called for reports and Epworth will be sentenced on March 29.

Jail for recent similar Fife case

The case called a fortnight after another Fife man, Hugh Docherty, 42, was jailed for sending a message to Nicola Sturgeon saying she was going to “face a hanging” for treason.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon making her resignation announcement. Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

The First Minister cited online abuse as a reason for her resignation on the same day as Docherty was sent to prison.

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