Abusive letters man locked up

Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone was sent abusive letters
Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone was sent abusive letters

A man who sent a ‘torrent of abusive letters’ to South Yorkshire politicians which included death threats and racial slurs has been jailed.

James Plant, aged 54, of Birks Holt Drive, Maltby, was jailed for six months at Sheffield Crown Court and ordered to pay an £80 surcharge.

The court heard Plant’s letters to Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone and then deputy leader Jahangir Akhtar caused ‘considerable distress’.

The offensive letters were written in anger after Plant was upset with how the council had dealt with a planning application, his defence said.

He was committed for sentencing at Sheffield Crown Court after pleading guilty to racially aggravated harassment with fear of violence and another charge of racially aggravated harassment without fear of violence at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard extracts from the letters in which Plant wrote that Coun Stone was a ‘dead man’ and that his office would ‘go up in flames,’ while he used racial insults in letters to Coun Akhtar.

Prosecutor Mark Hughes said the letters caused ‘considerable distress’ to both councillors.

He added that Plant was identified from fingerprints found on the documents.

Defence solicitor Michael Clarke told the court that Plant was angry at the council for turning an adjacent flat to his into a ‘halfway house’ without any consultation.

He said Plant did not carry anything out after sending the letters and accepts his behaviour was ‘totally unacceptable.’

“He accepts that he should have complained to the council in the proper manner,” said Mr Clarke.

Plant pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment with fear of violence and another charge of racially aggravated harassment without fear of violence.

Neither Coun Stone nor Coun Akhtar, who stood down from his post as deputy leader after the child grooming scandal, wished to comment.

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said: “It was a personal matter for both councillors who now consider the case closed.”