Anti-lockdown protester holding gallows advised MP ‘this is what we do to traitors’ per week after Sir David Amess’ homicide

A person threatened a Labour MP by holding up makeshift gallows with a noose outdoors Parliament and telling him “this is what we do to traitors”, a court docket has heard. Lance O’Connor, 57, allegedly referred to as out the title of Hove MP Peter Kyle in Parliament Square, Central London, whereas he was strolling again to his workplace in Portcullis House on October 20 final yr.

The MP noticed O’Connor, from Plaistow, Newham, standing with makeshift 6ft-tall gallows and a noose, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday. It is alleged the defendant then pointed on the object and stated to Mr Kyle: “This is what happens to traitors.”

Mr Kyle, 51, advised the court docket that he felt “chilled” and “threatened”, particularly in mild of Sir David Amess being murdered per week earlier. Giving proof, the MP stated: “About two o’clock I had just finished a lunch meeting and was heading back from the lunch meeting towards Parliament.”

Mr Kyle stated he was strolling in the direction of the nook of Bridge Road close to the Pc Keith Palmer memorial when he heard his title being referred to as. He stated: “I could hear a voice calling my name but there were multiple voices and other things being shouted. When your name is called, you instinctively look over, and that is what I did.”

The MP stated he additionally noticed O’Conner pointing as much as the noose and took a photograph which he later posted on Twitter

Asked what the tone of the voice was, he stated: “It was in an angry shout.” He added: “I looked briefly at what I was seeing and then away but then as I proceeded I turned back to have another look because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I saw a man standing there holding gallows with a noose in Parliament Square.

“When I looked briefly the first time I did not quite take it in. It was only when I continued walking did the impact of what I had seen struck me. The word ‘traitor’ was being used and then, when I looked across the road again, a man said ‘This is what we do with traitors’.”

Mr Kyle stated he additionally noticed the person pointing as much as the noose and took a photograph which he later posted on Twitter, and was proven to the court docket. He stated he then ran again to his workplace as he noticed the motion as a “direct threat to myself and a direct threat to other Members of Parliament”.

“I was shocked, I was chilled, I was threatened,” he added. Mr Kyle spoke of Sir David’s killing the earlier than, saying: “There was an atmosphere around Westminster that was chilling, so to see that was horrifying.”

Martin Smith, defending, requested Mr Kyle if he had spoken to the defendant through the encounter, which the MP denied, including that MPs are “trained” by safety companies to not interact with threatening protesters. He stated: “I would not engage with anyone in any shape and form with someone who is making a threat to my life.”

Pressed on whether or not he knew for sure the defendant stated the phrases “This is what we do to traitors”, Mr Kyle replied: “To the best of my knowledge, I’m pretty sure it was the person who was pointing to the gallows whose mouth was moving.”

The court docket heard that one other man, Stephen Tiller, who was going to a different protest, approached the defendant when he noticed the gallows, asking “What is that for?” Mr Tiller advised the court docket: “He said ‘All those f****** in there’ and pointed towards Parliament.”

O’Connor, who appeared in court docket holding a wood strolling stick within the form of a gallows with a small noose connected, advised the court docket he was protesting about “draconian” lockdown measures that have been in power on the time.

O’Connor stated he didn’t know that Mr Kyle was an MP, including: “I had never seen him before. I do not watch anything to do with Parliament.”

The defendant advised the court docket that Mr Kyle had come as much as him and requested: “Do you think that is appropriate?” O’Connor stated: “I pointed across the road at the Palace of Westminster and said ‘What I think is inappropriate is the draconian measures the people in Parliament have made’.” O’Connor stated he constructed the item “as a statement to the Government that treason is still punishable by the gallows”.

Alex Alawode, prosecuting, pressed him on the gallows being “threatening” as an “instrument of execution”. O’Connor stated: “I took that as a symbol. It is a bit of plastic, how am I going to hang anybody with a bit of plastic?”

Mr Alawode requested him if he thought it could trigger misery within the wake of Sir David’s homicide, and he stated: “I did not.” He added: “I did not consider it, to be quite honest with you. Now I can see that some people can find it – not some people, MPs – but they are public servants and if they cannot take this like of criticism maybe they should be in a different career.”

O’Connor repeatedly answered “I totally refute that allegation” when he was requested if he had referred to as Mr Kyle’s title, used the phrase “traitor” or supposed to threaten the MP. Mr Kyle, who has been the MP for Hove since 2015, was appointed shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland final yr.

Mr Kyle, a former charity sector govt, additionally beforehand served as a shadow justice minister and a shadow training minister. O’Connor denies focusing on Mr Kyle with intent to trigger harassment, alarm or misery.

The trial continues.

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