A Sheffield councillor says she was left "sick and frightened" after far-right extremists threatened her children and grandchildren.
Labour councillor Jackie Drayton says she was bombarded with abusive emails after she criticised a British National Party meeting in Sheffield. Her name appeared on the BNP's national website - and within hours her inbox was full of angry emails. Today Coun Drayton said although she was scared, she refused to be bullied.
"Despite the threats I believe in democracy and free speech so I'm going to stand up and keep saying what I think. They are not going to quieten me with their bully boy tactics."
The BNP's national website claimed "Labour Party thugs" forced the meeting to be cancelled and Jackie was quoted as saying this was one battle which had been won. Her email address was posted on the BNP's website along with a link to The Star's website.
Coun Drayton was travelling home from a London meeting when the emails started flooding her handheld computer. Within a couple of hours she had 25 emails, some signed.
The former Lord Mayor said: "There was one which was particularly bad and I felt sick and frightened. I started getting more and more emails and when one mentioned my family I started to panic. Then I had a telephone message from a friend saying I was on the BNP website."
One message said: "How would you like yourself and your family to be intimidated in a similar fashion? Maybe you might like death threats like Salman Rushdie got? Take some advice, stay away from gangster style tactics as it may come and bite you back! It's not democratic and will lead to the rule of the gun. YOU WILL LOSE. You say you won this battle but you will lose the war, that's a promise and I never break promises. YOU will pay one day very soon. The writing is on the wall. May god have mercy on your soul, I will pray for your deliverance from evil."
Coun Drayton has passed the emails to the police and the council's legal department.
She spoke out against a BNP meeting planned for Wednesday night at Southey Social Club. The club cancelled the meeting after consultation with councillors, MPs, police and members of the public. It went ahead at a secret location.
John Winston Beatson, of the BNP, said the party had a lot of support in the north of the city: "The Labour Party brought in their big guns to scupper our meeting with threats and intimidation. The Labour Party is stifling free speech and everyone's right to change our society by peaceful means."
Sheffield Council leader Coun Paul Scriven condemned the emails and said differences of opinion were vital in a democracy so people had choices.
"Elected representatives have a duty in a free and open democracy to raise their views without fear of intimidation or threats. Those who do threaten or intimidate people undermine the very democracy they say they support."
South Yorkshire Star