03 Jun 2020 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 03 Jun 2020 n° 64/2020 United Kingdom

Journalist Amy Fenton Put under Police Protection due to Threats following Coverage of a Criminal Case

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner Index Article 19 PEN
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Partner Index Article 19 PEN
Amy Fenton is a journalist and chief reporter for The Mail in Barrow-in-Furness, a town in north-western England. On 23 May 2020, The Mail published Fenton’s report about a young woman from the town who had been charged with lying about having been abused. The woman who was charged had reportedly alleged that she suffered for years at the hands of a gang of Asian men in towns across the north of England.

Fenton began receiving threats via social media and Whatsapp following the publication of her report. Some of those who threatened her, accused her of being “in” the rumoured Asian gang, although local police said that their year-long investigation found no evidence of the gang’s existence. In the last week of May, Fenton said she received “in excess of 100 death threats and threats of unlawful violence”, as well as “countless more”, which were reported to the police.

On the night of Sunday 24 May, Fenton was contacted by police and told that they believed there was a credible risk to her life, as well as that of her five-year-old child. The police had made the call after having assessed the dozens of threats Fenton had received in the previous days. Fenton and her daughter immediately left their home that night and have since been staying in a secret location, while under police protection.

This is not the first time that Fenton has received serious threats as a result of her reporting. In February, a man was jailed for 20 weeks for making a rape threat against Fenton after she covered a court case in which he was convicted of threatening to blow up a hospital.
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