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50-year-old jailed for threats to shoot ex-Mail reporter

Amy Fenton

A man has been jailed for nearly six months, and a two-year restraining order issued, after sending Facebook messages threatening the former chief reporter for Barrow’s The Mail, Amy Fenton, according to the Press Gazette.

Fenton left her role in September 2020, after already needing police protection due “increasing levels of abuse, intimidation and threats”. It came after protests in Barrow surrounding an alleged grooming gang operating, and the subsequent police investigation that found “no evidence” to support this.

In June, when Fenton was still The Mail in Cumbria’s chief reporter, she received death threats from Peter Cunliffe, 50, of Sandylands Promenade in Morecambe – among many others sent to her and other Mail staff who were reporting on the situation.

Through Facebook, Cunliffe said he wanted to shoot the reporter – who ultimately had to flee her home. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to six counts of sending by public communication (Facebook) an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message at Barrow-in-Furness Magistrates’ Court.

Becoming the second individual to be jailed over the incident, Cunliffe was handed a sentence of 22 weeks in prison, must pay three lots of compensation worth £200, and received a two-year restraining order preventing him from contacting Fenton directly or indirectly, as well as mentioning her name on social media.

Nearly a year ago, Salford-based Leroy McCarthy was jailed for five months after admitting to writing a threatening email of a sexual nature in relation to Fenton.

Amy Fenton currently works on a freelance basis for Reach, and was shortlisted for Reporter of the Year by the Society of Editors in 2019.


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