I did not go to intimidate daughter of BNP leader, man tells Carlisle court
By Phil Coleman
27 June 2012
The boss of a Northern Irish printing firm has told a jury that he did not come to Cumbria to intimidate the daughter of British National Party leader Nick Griffin.
David Sloan, 33, made the statement as he testified in his trial at Carlisle Crown Court. Sloan has denied seven charges of blackmailing Mr Griffin – demanding money with menaces – as he tried to recover a £44,000 debt owed by the BNP for the printing of election leaflets.
The prosecution say that Sloan sent a series of threatening messages to Griffin, his elderly parents, and his daughter Jennifer Matthys, who lives in Wigton.
In his evidence, Sloan said he had always got on well with Mrs Matthys and her husband Angus, who collected leaflets.
Sloan’s firm Romac Press was commissioned by the BNP to print 15 million leaflets for the 2010 general election. The defendant’s barrister Adrian Davies asked what effect non-payment of the debt had.
Sloan said: “It’s put Romac out of business. Nine people have lost their jobs. I had a nervous breakdown in January of this year. I have lost my business – my family business. My father’s health has deteriorated and I am going through personal bankruptcy.”
He said he came over to see a football match – Rangers versus Celtic – but while here decided to drive to Wigton to see Mrs Matthys. He wanted to talk to her at the BNP’s offices in Wigton about why Romac was not paid, claiming the party left 17 businesses in Northern Ireland without payment.
“Did you go to Wigton with the intention to intimidate?” asked Mr Davies. Sloan replied: “Definitely not.”
He said he told police he sent some threatening text messages because his father was ill and he wanted to get him out of the police station. The defendant admitted to panicking while being interviewed and at times giving the wrong answer.
The trial continues.
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