A 46-year-old man has admitted calling the office of Tory MP Mike Freer and saying: “I’m coming for you” last week.
James Phillips, of Brampton Park Road, north London, admitted making the call on January 31, the same day Mr Freer announced on his website that he will stand down at the next general election following a series of death threats and an arson attack on his constituency office.
Phillips appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday afternoon and pleaded guilty to a grossly offensive telephone call and assaulting a police officer.
The office of Finchley and Golders Green MP Mr Freer received three calls on January 31, two of which were “heavy breathing” and the third was a “man with a London accent”, Adrita Ahmed, prosecuting, said.
The caller said: “I’m coming for you, you c***, not just Mike Freer but you as well,” Ms Ahmed added.
In Mr Freer’s announcement, which was made on January 31 and included a letter to his local Conservative association dated January 28, Mr Freer said it was time to “say enough” as he could no longer put his family through the anxiety for his safety.
The Conservative justice minister said that “by the skin of my teeth I avoided being murdered” by Ali Harbi Ali, who went on to kill Southend West MP Sir David Amess.
“There comes a point when the threats to your personal safety become too much,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
The MP and his staff have decided to wear stab vests when attending scheduled public events in his constituency after learning that Ali had watched his Finchley office before going on to knife Sir David to death during a constituency surgery in 2021.
In a letter to his local Conservative association, Mr Freer wrote that it “will be an enormous wrench to step down”, but that the attacks “have weighed heavily on me and my husband, Angelo”.
Phillips’s phone call was recorded and workers in Mr Freer’s office recognised the number as that of the defendant, the court heard.
Phillips was arrested on Tuesday and taken into custody and was in a cell when he “swung his fist towards” a police officer who “jumped back”, Ms Ahmed said.
The officer said Phillips said to him: “Why is it I’ve been homeless for 20 years, how is it I’ve had rats in my flat?”
Rita Patel, defending, said Phillips has a history of depression and anxiety.
Phillips was given conditional bail by Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring until his sentencing on March 6 for a pre-sentence report to be written.
Mr Goldspring told Phillips he “cannot rule out the prospect of a custodial sentence being imposed”.
A separate investigation into an arson attack at the MP’s office on Christmas Eve is ongoing, with a man and a woman charged with arson with intent to endanger life.
The two incidents are not being linked, police said.