David Parnham, aged 36 years, of St Andrews Close, Lincoln, has today (Tuesday September 3, 2019) been sentenced to 12 years 6 months, to be served in hospital until he is well enough to be transferred to prison.
Parnham had previously pleaded guilty to a total of 15 charges, including soliciting to murder, encouraging offences believing they will be committed and sending letters with intent to cause distress or anxiety.
His sentence follows extensive assessments and recommendations by court appointed mental health professionals. Should it be agreed that Parnham’s mental health has improved during his time in hospital, Parnham will be transferred to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence.
The investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East was widespread and supported by many forces across the UK over a period of two years. In total 333 letters were reported.
A wide range of victims received the letters. While the addresses targeted were predominantly associated with mosques, others included private residences and business premises. A number of letters also contained suspicious substances, including white powder. This was a source of great anxiety for those recipients and resulted in considerable disruption to commercial and government buildings. In all circumstances thorough tests found the substances to be non-hazardous.
The content of the letters caused significant distress to victims and many Muslims believed there was a real threat to their safety. In addition to the intended recipients of the letters, the circulation of the hateful threats online caused further upset and concern for many more people.
Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden is the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East. He said:
“This case has affected a substantial number of victims and its impact has been felt across the country and overseas.
“Our investigation showed that Parnham acted alone and lacked both the ability and the means to carry out the threats he had made. Nevertheless, the abusive, racist and threatening language used in the letters was deeply concerning and created considerable distress which cannot be underestimated.
“This fear was not restricted to the hundreds of innocent victims who received a letter. Whole communities felt understandably vulnerable as coverage of the threats spread in the media and online.
“The safety of all our communities is paramount and we are committed to taking action against any behaviour which undermines their security, creates division or promotes fear.”
Victims of hate crime are always encouraged to come forward at the earliest opportunity so the right support can be provided. Reports can be made to police on 101, or online at www.report-it.org.uk. In an emergency always dial 999.
Anyone with information about suspicious activity or behaviour is urged to ACT and report their concerns in confidence on 0800 789 321, or online at www.gov.uk/ACT
Charge Detail –
The charges which David Parnham pleaded guilty to on October 12 are as follows:
One Count of:
Soliciting to murder, contrary to section 4 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861.
One Count of:
Bomb hoax, contrary to section 51 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
One Count of:
Encouraging offences believing one or more will be committed, contrary to section 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007
Five Counts of:
Hoaxes involving noxious substances, contrary to section 114(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001
Seven Counts of:
Sending letters with intent to cause distress or anxiety, contrary to section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988