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Jail term for man who stalked Chester's MP

A man who stalked his local MP has been given a jail sentence.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that Benjamin Scott-Thrale, 32, who’s from Chester, stalked and harassed the MP for Chester city centre Samantha Dixon, from June 2023 until January 2024.

Scott-Thrale initially contacted the MP for help with a family matter. Ms Dixon tried to help but, on 30 June 2023, she told him that she had done all she could, could do nothing more to assist and that he should seek legal advice. 

He then began a campaign of harassment, sending emails, making phone calls and calling into her constituency office.

Scott-Thrale started to make threats to Mrs Dixon that if she did not help him with his issue he would try to undermine her role as an MP through social media.

Things came to a head on 30 January 2024 when Scott-Thrale rang the MP’s office again and said  he would continue to contact Mrs Dixon until he had a face to face meeting with her and she helped him.

Ms Dixon began to feel seriously alarmed at Scott-Thrale’s behaviour and contacted the police again.  He was arrested and a charge of stalking and harassment was put to him.

Scott-Thrale’s response was: “What’s the definition of stalking? It involves a course of conduct against one person. I haven’t stalked one person.”

On 12th April 2024, at Warrington Magistrates’ Court, Scott-Thrale was found guilty after a trial. Ms Dixon told the court that the persistence of Scott- Thrale’s contact affected her daily life and caused her genuine distress.

He was given an immediate six-week custodial sentence. The court took into account the time that the defendant had already served in custody and the jail term was considered served.

He must also comply with a 12-month Post Sentence Supervision. The Crown Prosecution Service also applied to the court for a two-year restraining order, which was agreed to by the court.

The Restraining Order states that Benjamin Scott-Thrale must not:

  • Enter the grounds or the area around the House of Commons.
  • Post, publish or distribute anything digitally or physically referencing or relating to Samantha Dixon or members of her staff. 
  • Attend any place or location he knows or ought to know Samantha Dixon to be.
  • Contact, approach or follow, Samantha Dixon, by any means, including via third parties and social media.
  • Enter The Bluecoat Centre in Chester.

He must also pay a victim surcharge of £154.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Simon Green, of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said:

“The Crown Prosecution Service said that Benjamin Scott Thrale pursued a deliberate and persistent campaign of stalking and harassment against his local MP when he realised she couldn’t give him what he wanted.

“His constant emails, phone calls and visits to the office were meant to threaten her and leave her with the impression that he was always there, in the background and would continue to be.

“Polite requests from the MP and her staff to stop the contact and seek legal advice were ignored as was the formal request from the police. His behaviour became criminal and the CPS has successfully prosecuted him for it.

“Members of Parliament perform a vital role in our democracy and it is essential that they are able to represent their constituents without fear. The prosecution of people who threaten this is a key priority for the CPS. Benjamin Scott- Thrale jeopardised that role and now has a criminal record.”

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