A weekly journalist has been threatened with “revenge” by a local councillor who did not like stories he had written.
David Churchill, a reporter at the Islington Gazette, was emailed by Islington councillor Gary Doolan who told him “you could drop off the end of a cliff for all I care”, following the publication of two articles about him in recent weeks.
The email from the councillor stated that “I will seek revenge” and added that he would hate to disappoint local people who “will tell you that I always get my revenge”.
Following the email, David has forwarded it to the Labour leader of Islington Council to gain her response and also replied to the councillor to tell him that his threats were “over the top”.
He told HTFP: “Although he doesn’t make reference directly to any physical violence, for me it’s not quite clear to what lengths he is suggesting he will be going to in order to exercise his ‘revenge’.
“You don’t expect those kind of words from a councillor.”
The councillor has since emailed David to clarify that his “revenge” would be of an industrial or legal kind, rather than any form of violence.
David added that the councillor had pledged court action over his stories, one of which related to claims that Cllr Doolan, who is also a GMB union official, threatened his own authority with bin strikes over a dispute.
The second involved the authority being sued by the councillor’s trade union on his behalf over an alleged data protection breach, after the email containing the strike threat was leaked to the Gazette.
David contacted Cllr Doolan last week when he was told that the councillor was informing people that he was leaving the Gazette because he had been sacked, when in fact he is starting a job for the London Evening Standard next week.
Following David’s email to set the record straight, he then received the threatening email in response, in which Cllr Doolan said he was sure they would meet again, adding “let’s hope it’s in court”.
The email said: “I’d like to think that you had been sacked for your accusations, however I’m not bothered in the slightest what you do, you could drop off the end of a cliff for all I care.
“The fact is I was advised you are off to work for the Evening Standard. I may have commented yesterday when I was told you were leaving that they should have sacked you.
“However this was not in the same public arena or with the same gravitas that you unreasonably tainted me and I will seek revenge.”
Cllr Doolan told HTFP the case was with his lawyers because he intended to pursue a defamation case, so he would not comment.