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'I was worried he would take the next step': Man who threatened MP over email gets jail sentence

A racist harasser who made a Black Country MP fear for her safety has been jailed for two years after breaking a restraining order by sending her yet more vile and threatening emails.

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Gene Matthews, 53, was jailed for 26 weeks in April 2020 for racially aggravated harassment of Walsall MP Valerie Vaz and given a five-year restraining order.

However, earlier this year the MP received several emails blaming her for injuries he claimed to have sustained during his incarceration.

In four emails sent within a 30-minute period on February 20, Matthews repeatedly abused and threatened Mrs Vaz and promised "to hold her to account" for causing him to be jailed.

Matthews, of Lucknow Road, Willenhall, was arrested after Mrs Vaz reported his threats to the police and he was remanded in custody for breaching the restraining order.

Yesterday at Wolverhampton Crown Court Matthews was sentenced for breaching the restraining order, and for threatening and abusing a 101 call handler in December when he unleashed a vicious tirade after being issued a parking ticket.

In a victim impact statement Mrs Vaz described the fear and anxiety the emails from Matthews, whose picture had to be put up in her office to warn employees of the threat he posed, had caused her. The politician also revealed her fear she might be attacked during the General Election campaign which requires her to canvass on the streets.