Man banned from contacting MPs for 12 years after campaign of threats and harassment

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow

Ms Ali said she was left living in a constant state of fear - Credit: David Woolfall

A constituent who threatened to kill Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali during "a continuous stream of abuse and harassment” has been banned from contacting MPs for 12 years.

Ms Ali said she was left “living in a constant state of fear” after Hussain Sha, 42, subjected her to an 18-month barrage of abusive messages.

Sha, of Bethnal Green, sent hundreds of threatening emails to her, her staff and some of her family members, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

He was involved with Ms Ali’s constituency office following a problem with his housing but then became obsessed with the MP and sent some 290 messages to her between April 2018 and his arrest in December 2019, the court heard.

Many contained racist slurs and in one message, sent to a family member, he threatened to go to Ms Ali’s office “with a hand [gun] to do her Jo Cox-style”.

In another he said he would “blow up Rushanara’s office terrorist- style with petrol”.

He also sent abusive and threatening messages to then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs, former home secretary Sajid Javid, former Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick and Ms Ali’s Labour predecessor Oona King.

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Last week he was sentenced to a three-year community order, 120 hours community service and handed a 12 year restraining order, which requires him to ask a court's permission before contacting an MP.

The judge also said he must complete a 60-day rehabilitation programme.

Ms Ali said on Wednesday, March 10: “The sentencing for Sha hopefully marks the end of a distressing period for me, my family and my staff. We have been exposed to a continuous stream of abuse and harassment over the past few years. The sentence appropriately reflects the serious nature of the offence, as this type of behaviour is never acceptable.

“I am grateful for the support I received from my local police officers, the CPS and all those involved in supporting us with this case. I’ve seen first-hand the exceptional pressures our public servants work under, with limited resources, made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Ms Ali also called for more funding for mental health services to help prevent similar crimes before they reach the court system.

She added: “Multidisciplinary services which focus on reducing crime, including mental health support services need to be properly funded, so they can intervene early to prevent crimes like these from happening or help de-escalate potentially dangerous situations by providing appropriate treatment immediately.”

Sha, who had been in custody awaiting sentencing for more than six months, had admitted two counts of racially and religiously aggravated harassment, two counts of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress, threatening to destroy or damage property and fraud.

He has also pleaded guilty to one count of exposure in relation to an unrelated case

At his sentencing on March 1, Sha was invited back to court on April 27 to discuss his progress.