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Jess Phillips says she only knew her troll had been jailed after reading news

Birmingham MP Jess Phillips has revealed the first she knew that her online troll had been jailed was when she read it in a newspaper.

The Labour MP for Yardley said no-one from the police or Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had informed her the man who had been harassing her had been given a jail term.

Ms Phillips also told of how years of online trolling and abuse had “changed her life” and affected her mental health – but she had learned how to deal with it.

Tony Eckersley was sentenced to 28 months in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to racially aggravated harassment. The 52-year-old from Salford, Manchester, was also given a 10 year restraining order.

Writing in The Mirror, Ms Phillips revealed how Eckersley had bombarded her with hundreds of emails and messages day in day out.

Jess Phillips

“Imagine opening your inbox and watching as it updates, the constant pings alerting you to a new email,” she wrote.

“But every email is from the same man who has clearly just sat up all night sending you aggressive email after aggressive email. Frightening, right?”

She said when she read in a newspaper two weeks ago that Eckersley had been jailed she was surprised.

Ms Phillips said she hadn’t been told he had pleaded guilty or was due for sentencing that day and had been expecting to appear in Manchester Crown Court in December 2021 to give evidence in his trial.

“Thanks to our decimated justice system, the court date I’d been given was two and half years after my initial police complaint in May 2019 – and we wonder why victims and witnesses drop out of cases,” she said.

“Eckersley isn’t the first man to go to prison for harassing or abusing me, and I am afraid to say with absolute certainty that he won’t be last.”

She added: “The general public finding out about your fate at the same time as you doesn’t seem right.

“It made me feel inhuman again just as the abuse had done, as if my position as a public figure meant the rules were different for me because of my job.”



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