UKIP crash pilot guilty of making threats to Nigel Farage

Sunday 23 October 2011 06:41

The pilot of a plane which crashed and injured Ukip leader Nigel Farage during an election day stunt was today convicted of making threats to kill.

Justin Adams, 46, of Faringdon, Oxfordshire, was found guilty by a jury at Oxford Crown Court of five counts of making threats to kill relating to Mr Farage and Civil Aviation Authority crash investigator Martin James.

The crash on May 6, 2010, in which the light aircraft nose-dived to the ground while towing a campaign banner left both Adams and Mr Farage in hospital.

Adams, who was dressed in a navy blue suit and striped tie, stood in the dock staring straight ahead as the guilty verdicts were delivered.

The Honourable Mr Justice Saunders adjourned sentencing until the week commencing May 9, pending a pre-sentence report.

Remanding Adams in custody, he said he was "clearly extremely disturbed" at the time the offences happened.

He added: "He is a man who does need help. If I can find a way of giving him help I will."

During the trial, prosecutor Alan Blake argued that the threats were intended to make those receiving them fear they would be carried out.

The jury was played a recording of an exchange between a man calling himself Justin Adams and Sharon Bailey, a police inquiry centre officer at Thames Valley Police.

He said: "I'm going to kill somebody or two", the court heard.

Within the conversation on the evening of November 28 last year, Adams was heard to say: "I know where they live, they destroyed my life."

He later added: "I now have a 9mm pistol, I've got the means - I will take them out and then myself."

Adams told the operator he had lost his livelihood, house, wife and child in the wake of the CAA investigation.

He said: "You need to understand all charges were dropped against me after six or seven months of investigations. In the intervening period everything else fell apart."

He added: "He's taken my life, I'll take his."

Referring to Mr Farage during the conversation, he said the politician had promised to issue a joint media statement following the conclusion of the investigation into the crash, which had cleared him.

He added that he had met him for lunch to discuss it and "upped the pressure".

He said: "Never use your last bullet, always keep a spare. I've got eight and need four to use. Three active and one spare."

During the call, Adams stated he had not worked since May and received £30 a week, in place of his previous £50,000 a year earnings.

The court heard that Adams was later arrested by police and taken into custody.

Giving evidence in his defence, Adams told the jury that, after the crash, his mental health had been "rapidly spiralling downhill", as his business and personal relationship deteriorated.

He said he felt he was not receiving the help he needed and made the threats "in the belief and hope I would get put inside".

He said: "I could see no other way. I made a decision to make these threats purely to get assistance."

Adams said he had received media approaches to talk about the crash, but it had been initially suggested to him by Mr Farage that there would be an opportunity to speak after the investigation ended in his favour.

He claimed friends later informed him that Mr Farage was "generating PR as a result of the crash".

Detective Constable Julia Tuhill, the officer in charge of the case at Thames Valley Police, said: "I feel today's judgment is the correct one and I would like to thank the victims for all their assistance in bringing this matter to light and helping us to secure this conviction.

"Justin Adams made very serious threats to his victims that could not be ignored; threats that were significant enough to make them genuinely concerned for their welfare.

"I hope the victims can get some peace of mind from today's outcome and put this matter behind them."