Far-right Brexiteer who was ‘obsessed’ with former MP Anna Soubry jailed for harassment

Amy Dalla Mura ran against Ms Soubry in her constituency during general election 

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Monday 16 December 2019 20:07
Anna Soubry says 'it's not safe for me to go home'

A far-right Brexiteer who ran against Anna Soubry in the general election has been jailed for harassing the former MP.

Amy Dalla Mura was sentenced to 28 days in prison and handed a three-year restraining order after a court was told of her “obsession” with the pro-Remain politician.

The 56-year-old, who goes by the name Based Amy online, had joined numerous protests with the pro-Brexit “yellow vests” and far-right groups.

But the court heard she specifically started targeting Ms Soubry this year, turning up at events and filming her, and calling her a “traitor” as she appeared on live television.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said MPs had been left fearing for their lives over “sustained intimidation” since the murder of Jo Cox.

“You showed an obsession and fixation with Ms Soubry which has led you to bullying and intimidating, and harassing, this now-ex MP for Broxtowe,” she told the sentencing hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

She questioned why Dalla Mura had chosen to stand in Broxtowe, Ms Soubry’s constituency, after the politician told a previous hearing she feared for her safety.

“It was hard to see how [Dalla Mura] couldn’t have understood it was frightening,” Ms Arbuthnot said.

“Your client then stood against her in Broxtowe. That was the most serious point, that someone had been fixated not with Brexit but with Ms Soubry.

“Most people go and wave flags and shout. They don’t intimidate people right in their faces.”

Dalla Mura, of Eton Villa in Hove, denied harassment and claimed that her behaviour was a legitimate part of politically motivated debate and did not accept it was frightening.

She and her supporters in the public gallery shouted “democracy is dead” and “shame on you” as she was jailed on Monday.

On 23 January, Dalla Mura disrupted an event where Ms Soubry was speaking at a hotel in London, shouting over her while broadcasting the incident on Facebook.

Dalla Mura had to be escorted from the premises by security before the event could continue.

Then on 14 March, Dalla Mura approached Ms Soubry while she was giving a television interview in parliament’s central lobby, calling her a “traitor”.

Police said Dalla Mura refused to stop filming and officers were called after she returned a second time.

The following week, the defendant attempted to intercept Ms Soubry outside the Cabinet Office and said online that she was going to “have a word” with the MP. But she had already left.

Ms Arbuthnot had asked for a psychiatric report on Dalla Mura, who was handed an antisocial behaviour order in 2007 for repeatedly throwing herself into the sea.

She told Westminster Magistrates’ Court actions like hers “stop ordinary, decent people” becoming MPs.

“This damages our democracy. Because who wants to put up with this sort of harassment?” she asked.

Ms Soubry, who left the Conservatives and became the co-leader of Change UK earlier this year, lost her seat to her former party in last week’s election.

She received 4,668 votes, while Dalla Mura – who was banned from entering the Broxtowe constituency under her bail conditions – got 432.

She stood for the English Democrats, a nationalist party that called her a “persecuted patriot”.

Dalla Mura frequently broadcasts her protest activities online, operating several social media accounts including a Telegram channel that features doctored photographs of Ms Soubry and voices support for Tommy Robinson.

'I'm currently banned' Brexiteer running against Anna Soubry banned from constituency after harassing MP

In one of her last posts before being jailed, she shared Islamophobic content and claimed “globalist bastards” were orchestrating a “hostile invasion” of Europe.

Following the sentencing, Ms Soubry said: “The police and Crown Prosecution Service decided to bring this prosecution and I would like to thank them and the prosecuting counsel for their professionalism.”

Detectives from Scotland Yard’s parliamentary liaison unit, which was established after the murder of Jo Cox, said Dalla Mura refused several voluntary interviews but handed herself into a London police station in September after an arrest warrant was issued.

In an unrelated incident in June, Dalla Mura was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after deflating one of the “Trump baby” blimps flown by people protesting the US president’s visit.

She is not the first person to appear in court for harassing Ms Soubry.

Last month, a man who sent her a “sickening” note suggesting she would be murdered was jailed for 12 months.

Anna Soubry lost her seat in the election after defecting from the Conservatives

In July, prominent “yellow vest” James Goddard pleaded guilty to harassing Ms Soubry in Westminster.

He was given a suspended prison sentence following chaotic court hearings where his supporters disrupted proceedings.

Ms Soubry previously told The Independent the increase in abuse against MPs was “hugely concerning”.

“What’s happened is that Brexit lifted a stone and a lot of very unpleasant things have crawled out,” she added.

“They were always there, but my real concern is the level of debate and language used has dropped to a level we’ve never seen before.”

Police released new safety advice as part of increased security measures ahead of the election, after senior officers called the scale and ferocity of the abuse on MPs as “unprecedented”.

Commander Adrian Usher, who is responsible for the Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team, said they would “deal robustly” with harassment and abuse against MPs.

“Strong political opinions are absolutely no excuse for intimidating elected representatives and police will always treat such allegations seriously and seek to bring offenders to justice,” he added.

Additional reporting by PA

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