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Reader threatens to kill weekly reporter with shotgun

David SummersAn editor has hit out at the abuse of journalists after a reader threatened to kill one of his reporters with a shotgun.

David Summers has revealed the threat was issued against a Northampton Chronicle & Echo journalist over a court story published on its website.

It came during the course of a conversation in which the person making the threat was complaining about the story to the reporter in question, who has not been named.

David, pictured, confirmed the incident has been reported to the police.

In an editorial, he said the level of abuse experienced by his staff, and journalists across the country, had “increased exponentially” over the past 12 months.

David added: “This week, the stark reality of this was brought into sharp focus when a member of the public threatened to kill one of my reporters.

“It related to a court case that we had published on our website. A standard report of a court hearing, factually correct, the type we publish week in, week out.

“It is a fundamental part of a newspaper’s role and an integral part of justice being seen to be done.

“But this person disagreed. They complained about the publication of the article and during the course of the conversation told my reporter that they would get a shotgun and kill them.

David said the incident was “both shocking and upsetting to the reporter concerned”.

He added: “As their editor, my first thought was for the welfare of the reporter and for the wider team.

“My second was one of anger and incredulity that someone believed making this threat was okay.

“To say that this incident is totally unacceptable does not do justice to what happened and the impact of the actions.

“I am writing this statement to let our readers, and the wider public, see the level this abuse has risen to and to make it clear that I will not tolerate any of my team being threatened or abused in any way, physically, verbally or on social media.

“This matter has been reported to the police, as will any other instances of abuse of my journalists.

“Threats of physical violence, and in this case the threat of taking someone’s life, will not be accepted, nor will any other form of abuse.

“It certainly will not stop us covering court cases in the future and will not stop us doing our jobs.”