Tommy Robinson handed five-year stalking ban after turning up at Independent journalist’s home

English Defence League founder hired private investigator

Chiara Giordano
Westminster Magistrates’ Court
Wednesday 13 October 2021 18:30
<p>Tommy Robinson has been handed a five-year stalking ban after turning up at the home of an Independent journalist</p>

Tommy Robinson has been handed a five-year stalking ban after turning up at the home of an Independent journalist

Tommy Robinson has been slapped with a five-year stalking ban after turning up at a journalist’s home “screaming and agitated” late at night in a bid to stop the publication of an article.

The English Defence League founder “crossed the line between mere harassment and acts associated with stalking” by threatening to repeatedly return to Independent journalist Lizzie Dearden’s address, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

Deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram said he did not find Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, to be a “credible witness” and that he “continues to pose a risk to the complainant’s physical and psychological wellbeing”.

Robinson, wearing a dark-coloured corduroy jacket, T-shirt and jeans, was in court on Wednesday but left the room during the hearing and did not return.

The court heard how he turned up at the home of The Independent’s home affairs and security correspondent at about 10pm on 17 January – two days after she emailed his solicitors seeking comment on an article about claims he misappropriated donations from his supporters. He had obtained personal details about her after hiring a private investigator.

A previous hearing heard how Robinson, speaking over the building’s intercom and shouting outside, asked the journalist and her partner Samuel Partridge to “come down and talk”. He tried to get into the building but they refused to let him in and he was turned away by a security guard.

Mr Ikram told the court Ms Dearden had received abuse ​on various social media platforms as far back as January 2018 after being posted about by the defendant, who also made “unsubstantiated allegations” about her partner.

He said the journalist had “simply reported the words of a judge/court proceedings” and he was “sure the defendant is aware of the power of his words”.

The judge rejected Robinson’s explanation that he went to Ms Dearden’s home so he could have his reply to the article recorded on film, saying: “His intimidating behaviour late at night and his screaming, shouting and swearing outside the address, undermines that suggestion.”

He added: “I did not find the defendant a credible witness. He says he was calm. The independent witnesses who were not challenged as to their evidence all say otherwise.”

Mr Ikram imposed a five-year stalking protection order which prohibits Robinson from contacting Ms Dearden and Mr Partridge either directly or indirectly or attending any place where they live or work. However the defendant will be allowed to make “legitimate comment” on any future articles.

Delivering his judgment, the deputy chief magistrate said: “I’m taking into account the narrow wording of the order, which doesn’t stop Mr Lennon making legitimate comment in response to articles.

“I also bear in mind the level of risk – I have to say not only from him, but, as I’ve said in my judgment, he knows the power of his words in relation to his followers.

“Therefore I’m satisfied it’s both necessary and proportionate to make it for that length of time.”