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May 26, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:19am

Local journalist ‘put under police protection’ after repeated threats

By Charlotte Tobitt

A local journalist in Cumbria has said she is under police protection after being repeatedly threatened over reports of an unfolding criminal case.

Amy Fenton, chief reporter at The Mail in Barrow, tweeted that she has been put “under police protection” due to the abuse she has received.

Sharing a screenshot of a Facebook comment which read: “Slit Amy Fenton’s throat while saying Islamic prayers for her,” Fenton tweeted yesterday: “I’ve done what any self-respecting reporter would do.

“But I will not tolerate anyone threatening my daughter. I’m now under police protection. Ppl who have threatened me (eg attached) need to know – this is not acceptable. It is illegal.”

Newsquest Cumbria group editor Vanessa Sims has also claimed a gang of 12 men gathered outside The Mail’s offices in Barrow “shouting intimidating slurs and demands upon my reporters”.

She said defamatory comments and threats of violence had been made on social media and sent directly to a Mail reporter “simply for doing her job”.

“We will not accept this and will take legal action against those who persist,” Sims wrote on Saturday.

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The abuse appears to centre around a report of a woman charged with perverting the course of justice over false allegations of rape.

Fenton has previously been a target of abuse and in February a man who wrote on Facebook that she “needs raping” was jailed for five months.

Newsquest editorial director Toby Granville said yesterday: “This is an absolutely despicable way to treat one of our journalists just doing her job.

“Those responsible for these totally unacceptable threats and abuse must be held accountable.”

Responding to comments urging The Mail to close, Sims said that “without the paper the community we work so hard to represent would be much worse off”.

She added: “Despite the horrific abuse levied at the team we will continue to be professional, committed and dedicated to serving South Cumbria.”

Press Gazette is awaiting comment from Cumbria Police.

Picture: Amy Fenton

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