Man ‘called Hartlepool MP a peasant and threatened his family’ during election campaign

Anthony Rowbotham is accused of making threats to Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.
Anthony Rowbotham is accused of making threats to Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.

Hartlepool’s serving MP Iain Wright told a jury how a constituent made threats and anti-semitic remarks while he was on the election campaign trail.

Mr Wright gave evidence at Teesside Crown Court on the first day of the trial of Anthony Rowbotham.

Rowbotham, 43, is accused of telling Mr Wright he didn’t want ‘Miliband the Jew’ as Prime Minister, in reference to the then-Labour leader.

He is also alleged to have threatened to attack Mr Wright and his family at their Hartlepool home.

Mr Wright told the jury he was delivering election leaflets with his party agent Christopher Hawkins in Milbank Road, Hartlepool.

“I saw two men across the street,” said Mr Wright. “I recognised one as Tony Rowbotham who has been to my constituency office and to my surgeries many times over the years.

“He asked me how I dared show my face in Dyke House, and that I looked an absolute state.

“He started talking about how Jews control the money, and that he didn’t want ‘Miliband the Jew’ as Prime Minister.”

The court heard Rowbotham continued to abuse and swear at Mr Wright, calling him a peasant many times and threatening to evict him from Hartlepool.

Mr Wright added: “Mr Rowbotham only came very close to me on one occasion, when he tried to trip me up.

“His foot caught my right shin, it was a clumsy attempt and easily remedied.

“Mr Rowbotham told me he knew I’d been to London to study accountancy, and said I was helping the Jews control the debt.

“He also said I was helping ‘all these immigrants’ come into the country.”

Rowbotham is alleged to have threatened Mr Wright and his family.

“He told me he was going to come to my house and attack me and my family,” Mr Wright told the jury. “He said he would wear a mask, but I would know it was him.

“I found the remarks to be very disturbing and threatening.

“It wouldn’t be hard for anyone to find out where I live, and my job means my family are on their own for much of the week.”

Rowbotham, of Oakley Gardens, Hartlepool, denies religiously aggravated harassment and common assault, both on March 5 last year.

Andrew Teate, defending, said Rowbotham accepts having a political conversation with Mr Wright that day, but denies making threats, being abusive, or making anti-semitic remarks.

The case continues.