Community order for pensioner who sent racially abusive letter to Diane Abbott

A pensioner who sent a racially abusive letter to Diane Abbott
has been given a community order.

Roy Brown, 69, sent the letter to the shadow home secretary's Westminster office in August 2017.

The note, which was opened by one of her parliamentary assistants, included a string of racist abuse and repeatedly referred to "black vermin".

It also including a threat to burn Ms Abbott's house with her "trapped inside" and said that she would be "butchered like the cowardly vermin butchered Pc Blakelock".

Keith Blakelock was a Metropolitan Police officer murdered in 1985 during a riot at a housing estate in Tottenham, north London.

Brown was sentenced to a 12-month community order at Barkingside Magistrates' Court in Ilford on Wednesday.

District Judge Gary Lucie said: "I do accept that you have shown full remorse, I do think you are sorry and that it won't happen again.

"The offence is aggravated by the mention of race in the letter, I accept that you are not racist but the wording in the letter does deal with characteristics of black people."

Brown, of Ilford, Essex, previously pleaded guilty to sending an indecent or offensive letter.

His defence counsel Farhana Rahman-Cook said he has "vulnerabilities", that the offence was a "one-off" and that he had become "teary" at a previous court hearing.