Former Tory PPC for Watford receives suspended prison sentence for hate campaign

Readers of Lib Dem Voice will well recall the story of Ian Oakely, the Conservative candidate for Watford and Hillingdon councillor*, who appeared in court and pleaded guilty in August to five charges of criminal damage and two of harrasment – LDV covered it here, and Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Watford Sal Brinton wrote about it here.

Mr Oakley today appeared before Central Herts Magistrates Court in St Albans, where he received an 18-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months. The report gives further details:

At August’s hearing the court heard Oakley had terrorised Liberal Democrat rivals Sal Brinton and Russell Willson. He sent them hate mail, made silent phone calls, and daubed graffiti on Mr Willson’s house.

Sentencing Oakley, chairman of magistrates Barry Northrop said: “Your offences are quite seriously aggravated by a number of factors. They were planned, and you clearly ignored the very obvious distress that would be caused to the victims and others who became involved in your campaign of harassment.”

The court heard Oakley sent gay and lesbian magazines to Ms Brinton’s home and work and made silent late-night phone calls to her. Oakley also daubed graffiti across Liberal Democrat headquarters in Watford, and slashed tyres of local councillors’ cars. His campaign against Mr Willson from February to May this year included sending letters to him and supporters claiming he was a member of a child abuse ring.

The court heard Oakley was caught out when his fingerprints were found on several items in the case.

Mr Northrop described some of Oakley’s abuse as “vile” and said it was a deliberate attempt to “subvert the democratic process”. He said he had taken psychiatric problems revealed by pre-sentence reports into account, as well as Oakley’s early guilty plea and his remorse.

* Mr Oakley resigned as Tory PPC for Watford following his arrest; he continued to serve as a councillor.

Update (14/10/08): the Watford Observer also covers the story, and includes a short CCTV clip of Oakley spray painting LibDem candidate Russell Willson’s wall with ‘Scum Perv Scum’. The CCTV was installed by the Lib Dems at a number of victims’ homes, at their own expense.

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  • Justice?
    I look forward to hearing the Tory ‘hang em & flog em’, brigade call for a harsher punishment on this one …………… I’m waiting……..

  • He did NOT resign from being a Hillingdon Councillor after his arrest. He has remained a councillor all along. In fact he remained being paid an additional £20k a year as chairman of the residents overview committee until a few weeks ago

  • Hywel Morgan 13th Oct '08 - 11:21pm

    He will have been disqualified from the Council because the sentence was over 3 months

  • Tony Greaves 14th Oct '08 - 12:07pm

    “He will have been disqualified from the Council because the sentence was over 3 months”

    I think it’s “three months or over”.

    A pedant of Winewall

  • No Tories? Thought not…… go on surprise me!!

  • Terry Gilbert 17th Oct '08 - 10:21pm

    Difficult to see why the sentence was suspended. I’m a former Probation Officer, and know from experience that suspended sentences were all but abolished in the 1990s except for the most exceptional circumstances – usually severe illness, old age, infirmity, etc. Possibly it was because of past history of mental illness. Does anyone know?

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