Pensioner, 84, who fled UK after sending 'chilling' letters to MPs is jailed

·Freelance Writer
·2 min read
Donald Wood has been jailed for 21 months after sending threatening letters to three MPs. (South Yorkshire Police)
Donald Wood has been jailed for 21 months after sending threatening letters to three MPs. (South Yorkshire Police)

A pensioner who fled the country before he was found guilty of sending threatening letters to three MPs has been jailed.

Donald Wood, 84, made threats of violence in three handwritten, anonymous letters to the offices of Labour MPs John Healey, Dan Jarvis and Stephanie Peacock in March 2019.

Wood referenced the killing of MP Jo Cox in 2016 in his letter to Jarvis, which the MP described as “particularly chilling”.

Wood also said he would release untrue allegations about the MPs to the press, writing: “We will be in touch.”

Labour MP Dan Jarvis described the letter he received as
Labour MP Dan Jarvis described the letter he received as 'chilling'. (PA)
John Healey and Stephanie Peacock were both sent threatening letters by Donald Wood. (PA/Parliament.uk)
John Healey and Stephanie Peacock were both sent threatening letters by Donald Wood. (PA/Parliament.uk)

The MPs and their office staff were left worried by the letters, judge Jeremy Richardson QC told Sheffield Crown Court.

Wood was due to stand trial this year but fled to Morocco in February, just days before it was set to start.

However, the hearing went ahead in Wood’s absence and he was found guilty of three counts of sending malicious communications.

Wood, of Roundacre, Barnsley, was arrested on his return to the UK and has now been jailed for 21 months.

Previously unreleased photo dated 06/06/16 of Labour MP Jo Cox (right), who has been shot in Birstall near Leeds, an eyewitness said. ... Jo Cox shooting ... 06-06-2016 ... London ... UK ... Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire. Unique Reference No. 26627879 ... Issue date: Thursday June 16, 2016. See PA story POLICE MP. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
One letter referenced the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox, right, in 2016. (PA)

In a personal victim statement read out in court, Jarvis said he was distressed after receiving the letters containing his home address, as well as referencing the death of Ms Cox, who was murdered by far-right extremist Thomas Mair in 2016.

Jarvis added said that he was worried the writer would "take the matter further”.

Judge Richardson told Wood: "You intended to maximise the fear and distress of each one of those members of parliament.

A general view of Sheffield Crown Court, Sheffield.
Donald Wood was jailed for 21 months at Sheffield Crown Court. (PA)

"Each one is used to the ordinary rough and tumble of political life in a vibrant democracy. This, however, was nothing of that kind."

Wood, who represented himself, said his depression and psychiatric issues played a part in him sending the letters, adding that sending the letters was "rather silly of me”.

He was ordered not to contact any of the people he had threatened, apart from Jarvis who is Wood's MP – but only for legitimate constituency matters.

Richardson told him: ”You are an extremely foolish man. You have brought this upon yourself. You are the architect of your own misfortune.”

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