Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

Restraining order given to bogus officer who followed Gavin Williamson

Bogus police officer who ‘persistently’ followed Sir Gavin Williamson and flashed his Met badge while trying to arrest him is handed a restraining order

  • Simon Parry, 45, filmed himself pursuing Sir Gavin Williamson for 21 minutes 
  • The Conservative MP said the two incidents earlier this year were ‘intimidating’ 

A bogus police officer who ‘persistently’ followed former education secretary Sir Gavin Williamson and accused him of genocide has been spared jail and handed a retraining order. 

Simon Parry filmed himself pursuing Sir Gavin for 21 minutes, bombarding him with questions and making comments about the vaccination programme, before uploading the footage on social media. 

Sir Gavin, the Conservative MP for South Staffordshire, previously told Westminster Magistrates’ Court that Parry, 45, had flashed a warrant card as he threatened to arrest him while dressed in a blue superman shirt and shorts during the encounter. 

He told the court the stalking ‘got more and more intimidating’ as Parry approached him on May 24 and June 14 of this year. 

Recalling the first incident, Sir Gavin told the court: ‘As I walked along it was apparent that the main things that were being said were issues to do with the vaccination programme and comments about why this was wrong and what had been done to children as a result of people taking vaccinations.

Simon Parry filmed himself pursuing Sir Gavin for 21 minutes, bombarding him with questions and making comments about the vaccination programme

Sir Gavin told the court the stalking ‘got more and more intimidating’ as Parry approached him on May 24 and June 14 of this year

‘It felt very close all the way through, he felt in close proximity, I tried to continue to look forward because I did not want to engage in that conversation, but it was by the peripheral vison I could see that it was being filmed as I walked past the protest pen outside Downing Street.

‘I think what is evident from the recording is that it is someone who is quite aggressive towards you and someone who does not really want to have a discussion but more express their views at you.

‘Of course as an MP, you get a lot of people approaching you all the time. Normally they want to discuss things with you but this was in a very different manner from that.

‘It just really is the approach, usually people want to have a discussion with you and will ask if they can have a moment of your time. This time, the defendant was immediately filming the approach and how he came up so incredibly close.’

Referring to the second incident in June Sir Gavin told the court: ‘As I passed the protest area which is opposite Downing Street, I phoned a constituent who had had some bad news.

‘I was talking to them on the phone and as I passed the protest area, I heard a number of shouts which I assumed were aimed at me.

‘I didn’t really think anything more of it initially and then as I got closer to the old war office, I sensed there was someone who was in very close proximity to me, following me and addressing comments at me as I walked along.

 Parry (pictured) was accused of following former education secretary Sir Gavin Williamson twice 

‘I heard comments about people being arrested, comments about the vaccination programme, comments about Matt Hancock.

‘As I walked along, I thought the best thing to do instead of engaging was to just carry on talking to that constituent and carry on my way. I hoped he would disengage if I walked at a brisk pace.’

READ MORE: Bogus police officer who made Gavin Williamson feel ‘incredibly threatened’ by ‘persistently’ following him and flashing his Met badge is convicted of stalking 

In video footage taken by Parry which was played it court, Parry can be heard saying: ‘MPs know they are on borrowed time, this is a genocide of your own people… dead man walking there and I am a free man and I can do what the f*** I want’. 

At one point in the recording, Sir Gavin says to Parry: ‘You are harassing me’. 

Parry replies: ‘I have a larger influence than you mate, a much larger influence than you. Last time I got a bit closer and you got a bit scared, I don’t know why. 

‘I can arrest you right now if I wanted to, can I ask you a question please’. 

Sir Gavin told the court of the incident: ‘I became aware of the comments, I heard the comments about MPs and such and then I realised that actually it is not just people walking past you, it is people making comments specifically about yourself.

‘Obviously it is someone with quite a specific viewpoint and mentioning genocide and things like that, hits you quite hard and makes you realise that someone is quite agitated.

Parry (left) was supported by Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour Party leader Jeremy, when he appeared at the City of London Magistrates’ Court last month 

‘I paused to see if they would walk on or not in the hope that they would disengage from following me.

‘I stopped to get in the sense in my mind that if I stopped in the road, if the defendant was not interested in targeting me, they would carry on walking, in which case I would be able to give them some space.

‘It became clear that I was the person they were targeting and pursuing. I became aware quite early on because again my peripheral vision, I realised that they were holding up their phone as they went along.

‘You can see from the recording that they were almost side by side at times. Of course, I was very conscious that they had been filming me there.

‘You heard quite a bit of it as to what was going on and you could sense the quite extreme viewpoints being expressed.

‘You felt quite concerned that there was an individual who was not being totally rational and was being quite aggressive towards myself.

‘I had thought about talking to the individual but it became clear that it would not be possible to have a normal conversation.

‘I was talking to a constituent who had had to have their dog put down and I was talking to them. Why should I not do what I thought was my job because this very aggressive person was harassing me and pursuing me.

Sir Gavin said he has changed the route he takes home and varies these regularly to reduce the chance of a similar incident in future

‘I thought if he felt he was going to be ignored, he was almost wanting to get a reaction, so I thought it best to just carry on going, thinking he would get bored and leave you alone.

‘It is very unusual to have someone just continue to follow you, it felt increasingly threatening and I just hoped boredom would get him and he would want to return to his group at the protest pen.’ 

Sir Gavin also told the court that the incident became ‘scary’ as he attempted to walk to Euston train station to return to his home.  

‘You could hear him talking in the background and just became more acutely aware and tuned in’, he said. 

‘I did try and crawl away and create some distance as best as I could. By this stage I was very concerned by what he was doing and the persistence.

‘At this point it became more scary because it is a bit of a confined space, I can hear constant references to police, police, police. Quite extreme views were being mentioned as well as threats being thrown around. You start to become quite fearful.’ 

He added that he asked his constituent to stay on the phone to him throughout the incident. 

‘I explained the situation I was in and said I hoped she did not mind if I just kept talking to her because I felt it was important to have an almost comfort to myself’, he told the court. 

Parry, of no fixed abode, was convicted of one count of stalking. He was cleared of impersonating a police officer due to lack of evidence

‘It increasingly got more and more intimidating. It felt clear that the defendant wanted me to feel intimidated and obviously to give the impression that I was going to get arrested by himself.

‘In my view I had heard the word police repeated a number of times as I was walking along and it was with the clear intent to make me feel that he was a police officer and he could arrest me.

‘I thought that the seriousness of it was so much greater, it is not normal behaviour to pursue someone like that, I felt incredibly threatened by it.’

‘In quite a short period of time, it had happened on two occasions’, he added. 

‘Extreme actions, disturbing comments being thrown at me and said and then it was the sense of trying to say that I am a police officer, this is a warrant card, is he going to do that to another politician or another member of the public that is maybe not quite so used to doing that because he was using that warrant card for something of authority to scare and influence people.

‘It does make you much more worried in London because that is where the incident happened and it does make you more concerned about your personal safety and just recently someone was arrested and imprisoned as a result of death threats, and this type of incident just makes you increasingly concerned about your personal safety.’ 

He added that he has changed the route he takes home and varies these regularly to reduce the chance of a similar incident in future. 

The court previously heard Parry filmed the encounter with the Tory MP and uploaded it on social media

‘You don’t really know what they are capable of doing and you sadly do hear of incidents where people have used a knife or such thing in the past’, he said. 

‘It just makes you more fearful when you are going about your own business.’

Parry attended the court with a group of supporters including Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

Parry, of no fixed abode, was convicted of one count of stalking. He was cleared of impersonating a police officer due to lack of evidence. 

He was handed a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and given a five-year restraining order prohibiting him from contacting Sir Gavin or any member of his office, either directly or indirectly. 

He must also not knowingly go within 100 metres of the MP.

He must also carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, attended 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and pay costs of £654. 

District Judge Tan Ikram told Parry: ‘On two occasions you sought to engage with him [Sir Gavin], he made it clear he was not interested.

‘On the second occasion you followed him, over a very considerable distance, over a period of 20 minutes.

‘He changed his route in hope you would not follow him; this has had an impact on him. He says that as a result he has not only felt threatened, but he felt that you tried to demean him, that you acted in a hostile and aggressive manner towards him and he has concerns now in relation to being in London and if his children were with him.

‘You conducted yourself in an intimidating manner that day, I’ve been addressed on sentencing guidelines, and I agree with the assessment that finds the offence is aggravated by the fact that the second incident was prolonged.

‘It wasn’t an accidental encounter in the sense you continued to question him, you continued, in my view, to try and provoke him and you have made it clear in your pre-sentence report, and your evidence, you also sought to speak to other MPs.

‘I also note your attitude towards Sir Gavin and MPs, generally it seems to me you do not fully accept your wrongs, you think this is an appropriate way to challenge MPs, well let me be clear it is not.’

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