MP Jess Phillips feels ‘resigned’ to receiving threats as man is jailed

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Shadow minister for domestic violence Jess Phillips (PA) (PA Archive)
Shadow minister for domestic violence Jess Phillips (PA) (PA Archive)

A “dangerous” prisoner has been handed a jail sentence for sending a letter from his cell threatening to kill MP Jess Phillips

Rakeem Malik was already serving a five-year sentence, imposed in June 2020, for making threats to kill and rape Ms Phillips and fellow Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

Threats had also been made against other politicians, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his predecessor Theresa May – whose corpse Malik said “he would eat”.

Malik, 54, appeared by video link at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday where he was sentenced for new offences to five years’ imprisonment – with a five-year extension to his licence.

He had previously admitted making a threat to kill, two counts of sending letters with threats and breaching a criminal behaviour order.

The sentence is to run consecutively to the five-year term of imprisonment he is already serving.

After Monday’s hearing, Ms Phillips – the MP for Birmingham Yardley – told PA news agency: “He’s a dangerous man. I feel resigned to the position of somebody who will for the rest of my life receive threats and potentially have those enacted.”

She said the letters “threatening to harm me and kill me” were intercepted before reaching her.

A restraining order was imposed on Malik, who was also sentenced to 12 months each on two counts of sending letters with threats and imprisoned for 16 months for breaching the order. All sentences are to run concurrently.

In June 2020, Birmingham Crown Court heard extracts from letters in which Malik threatened to eat Mrs May’s corpse, kill Mr Johnson “by Christmas” and bomb Ms Cooper on behalf of “Jihadis of England”.

Malik, a Muslim convert who was born Paul Anthony Harrison, is already serving a life sentence imposed in 1999 after admitting attempting to murder a “cell-mate” whom he tried to strangle with shoelaces at Merseyside’s Ashworth high security hospital.

Malik had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to three counts of making threats to kill West Lancashire MP Ms Cooper in May 2019.

He also admitted making a threat to Ms Phillips in November 2019 and sending a letter to her with intent to cause distress in December 2019.

The court heard that among the letters sent to Ms Cooper were threats which made a reference to MP Jo Cox who was murdered in 2016.

A letters sent to Ms Cooper threatened: “Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Mair and we are going to kill you the same way.

“Nice car you may need to get it checked when you turn it on it may go bang.”

I am sort of resigned to the idea that this will keep on happening in my life.

Jess Phillips

After Malik was sentenced on Monday, Ms Phillips said she felt some “comfort” because the police “responded incredibly well” and “in light of attacks against Members of Parliament and that an attack on our democracy (is) being taken really seriously”.

She said: “I am sort of resigned to the idea that this will keep on happening in my life. I feel less scared about this one because I knew he was already in prison. I can risk manage that.

She added: “I don’t feel this is a man who is coming out of prison any time soon and so I don’t feel any particular risk. I feel pleased that the right thing happened. It is all just tinged with sadness around the fact that people target me because I am a woman.

“This is a man who had previously written about Jo Cox in his letters. He had been vehement and specific about the fact that I’m a woman. It just makes you feel tired but you have just got to keep on going.”

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