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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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BNP leader's daughter 'terrified' by text message threats, Carlisle court told

A Wigton woman who is the daughter of BNP leader Nick Griffin said she felt terrified as she read threatening text messages allegedly from a man pursuing her father for a debt.

Nick Griffin photo
Nick Griffin

Related: Nick Griffin's daughter targeted by gang pursuing BNP leader over debt, Carlisle court told

Jennifer Matthys, who has lived in north Allerdale since October 2010, told this to a jury at Carlisle Crown Court as she gave evidence in the trial of Irish businessman David Sloan.

The 33-year-old printing firm boss, of Newtonards, County Down, Northern Ireland, has denied seven charges of blackmailing Mr Griffin by making unwarranted demands for money with menaces.

The prosecution alleges that Sloan threatened Mr Griffin, his daughter and his elderly parents in an attempt to recover a £44,000 debt which he believed he was owed for printing millions of BNP election leaflets.

Mr Griffin claimed he was told that the debt was eventually sold to the Ulster Defence Association, which he described as a loyalist paramilitary terrorist organisation.

At the city’s crown court, Mrs Matthys told the jury how she and her husband Angus had been driving away from her workplace in Wigton on March 1 of last year when they noticed they were being followed by a car.

Inside the car – a Ford Focus – were four men, who looked like “big blokes,” she said. The Ford followed the couple’s car to Carlisle where Mr Matthys pulled into a petrol station.

The car then drove straight towards the couple’s car, coming to a halt just inches away, said Mrs Matthys.

“I was petrified,” said Mrs Matthys, who rang police and was told to drive to the city’s police HQ.

The jury heard about text messages she received from a sender identified as ‘Belfast Debt.’ The first said: “Well u got away but u might not get away tonight or the next night. We know where u live and work and we’re holding u responsible.”

Another text, minutes later, said: “For £44 grand that is owed in Belfast Nick must pay now or we will break every bone in ur body.”

Asked by prosecution barrister Tim Evans how the messages left her feeling, Mrs Matthys said: “Terrified. Horrified. How do you expect someone to feel?”

Sloan’s barrister, Adrian Davies, questioned Mr Griffin about a text sent to him, which said: “No point in giving 2 fingers to the Shankhill Road. U would be coming up with a quick fix Nick before someone gets hurt.”

Mr Griffin rejected the barrister’s suggestion that there was nothing sinister about the message, saying: “I have been told that the debt has been passed on to the UDA.”

The trial continues.

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