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Woman fined after threats to kill photographer

A woman has been fined after threatening to kill a photographer from a regional daily.

The journalist from the Southern Daily Echo was attacked after attempting to take photos of a woman who had been sentenced for benefit fraud of almost £50,000.

Lee-Anne Jennings was sentenced in October last year and the photographer tried to take her picture when she emerged from court – but her 20-year-old daughter Tara Jennings threatened to kill the female photographer and grabbed her arm.

She has now been fined £350 and ordered to pay costs of £85, compensation of £150 and a £15 victim surcharge at Southampton Magistrates’ Court after being charged with a public order offence of using threatening words or behaviour to make someone fear unlawful violence would be used against them.

The incident happened on 27 October as the photographer tried to take Lee-Anne Jenning’s picture as she left Southampton Crown Court.

But her daughter Tara Jennings immediately launched a foul-mouthed verbal assault on the 33-year-old photographer and made an obscene gesture in her direction.

The photographer attempted to get a picture without the daughter in shot by moving position as the pair walked down the ramp away from the courthouse.

But Jennings continued her verbal abuse, screaming “I’m going to kill you” and then grabbed the photographer’s arm, repeating her threats.

She eventually let go of her arm when a passer-by asked the photographer if she was all right.

In her police statement, the photographer said: “I felt like I was going to throw up and that I was going to have a panic attack. I was worried and didn’t feel safe, even when I got into my car.

“I felt really scared about what was going to happen to me and I’ve never felt like that in the 13 years I’ve been doing my job – that has never happened to me before.”

After the court hearing, Daily Echo editor-in-chief Ian Murray said: “This was a nasty incident and I’m glad that the courts took it seriously.

“Echo journalists have as much right to go about their business without being threatened as anyone else in the community.”