Independent journalist ‘too frightened’ to go to door after Tommy Robinson turned up ‘to prevent publication of story’

EDL founder threatened to falsely accuse reporter’s boyfriend of being paedophile to stop allegations he misused donations being exposed

Chiara Giordano
Friday 20 August 2021 21:28
<p>Tommy Robinson appeared in court accused of stalking Independent home affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden</p>

Tommy Robinson appeared in court accused of stalking Independent home affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden

Tommy Robinson turned up at the house of an Independent journalist late at night after finding her address, leaving her “too frightened” to answer the door, a court has heard.

Days later the English Defence League (EDL) founder, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, threatened to accuse her partner of being a paedophile in a bid to prevent the publication of a news story.

Robinson/Lennon appeared in person at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday where an application for a stalking protection order was to be considered.

It came after he went to the home of The Independent’s home affairs and security correspondent Lizzie Dearden and her boyfriend Samuel Partridge shortly before 10pm on 17 January this year.

The court heard how Mr Robinson had turned up in an attempt to get the journalist to drop an investigation into claims he misappropriated donations from his supporters after she contacted him through his website and emailed solicitors seeking comment for the story two days earlier.

Ryan Dowding, acting on behalf of the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said there was shouting about Mr Partridge being a paedophile and Mr Robinson was heard to say, “Lizzie, I will be back every day if I have to” outside the building.

He said Mr Robinson had another person with him during the incident, observed by two neighbours and a security guard, who was in a Range Rover sounding the horn loudly.

It is still not known how he gained knowledge of the couple’s address.

A court previously heard how Mr Robinson, speaking over the building’s intercom and shouting outside, asked Ms Dearden and her partner to “come down and talk”. He attempted to get into the building but was turned away by security.

Asked on Friday why she did not wish to come down while Mr Robinson was outside, Ms Dearden, giving evidence remotely, said: “Because I didn’t know what he was going to do and from what I could hear on the intercom and the street he sounded very angry and agitated. I was frightened.”

Ms Dearden said she called 999 when Mr Robinson turned up and could hear him referring to her and her partner by name.

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, speaks to media outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court

Alex di Francesco, representing Mr Robinson, put it to Mr Partridge, who also gave evidence remotely, that he had “overstated” how loud and agitated Mr Robinson had been – and that he had been relatively “polite” over the intercom.

Mr Partridge disagreed, adding: “He was polite to begin with but that changed very quickly.”

Mr Dowding said Mr Robinson, who was arrested over the incident that same night, later posted two images of Mr Partridge on social media.

Unable to “resist one more attempt to intimidate Ms Dearden”, he sent the reporter an email on 19 January, in which he changed the subject line to “TR” followed by the name of the area in which she lived, Mr Dowding told the court.

The court previously heard how Mr Robinson falsely claimed in the email to have a source who claimed Mr Partridge groomed a child.

But Mr Di Francesco said the three-page-long email sought to address the allegations made against him.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram, who imposed an interim stalking prevention order in March ahead of the full application on Friday, adjourned the case until 26 August.