Man who threatened MP Louise Mensch is arrested after failing to attend court sentencing

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AN INTERNET “troll” who sent a threatening e-mail to East Northamtonshire MP Louise Mensch has been arrested after failing to attend court for his sentencing.

Frank Zimmerman escaped jail when a district judge suspended a 26-week prison sentence for two years after he sent an offensive e-mail to Mrs Mensch.

The bearded 60-year-old, who was taken to court by police today (Monday) after being arrested for failing to attend his sentencing last week, was given the suspended sentence, ordered to pay costs and made subject of a restraining order.

The order bans the agoraphobic from contacting a string of well-known people until further notice.

The list includes Mrs Mensch, her businessman husband Peter, and Mrs Mensch’s ex-husband, property developer Anthony LoCicero.

Lord Sugar, the Amstrad businessman and star of hit TV Show The Apprentice, was named on the restraining order, as was Terence Blacker, a columnist with the Independent newspaper and Zimmerman’s former neighbour in London.

Also listed was General Sir Mike Jackson - once head of the British Army - and David Petraeus, former US Army commander in Iraq and Afghanistan and now director of the CIA.

Frank Zimmerman, 60, from Gloucester, had been due to be sentenced at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Friday but didn’t appear, and police issued a warrant for his arrest.

A Gloucestershire Police spokesman said Zimmerman was taken into custody this morning before being taken to court.

Zimmerman had targeted Mrs Mensch last year telling her to stop using the social networking site Twitter or face the consequences.

The agoraphobic, who lives in a run-down house in Barnwood, Gloucester, told Mrs Mensch that she faced a “Sophie’s Choice” - a reference to a novel in which heroine Sophie has to choose between the life of her son or daughter at a Nazi concentration camp.

Zimmerman was charged with an offence of sending by public communication network an offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing message or matter.

At a hearing at Gloucester Magistrates’ Court in April, he was found guilty in his absence, having failed to attend on that occasion, blaming his agoraphobia and depression.

He attended court last month for sentencing but a district judge adjourned the case until Thursday so that a pre-sentence report could be completed.

Following the e-mail dated August 22 last year, the 40-year-old MP, who has more than 58,000 followers on Twitter, immediately called in the police and arranged security for her family.

The offensive e-mail was later traced to the IP address of Zimmerman’s home computer. Zimmerman denied sending it, saying his computer had been hacked.