Sacked worker sent dead rab­bit in the post

Stockport Express - - Front Page - BY AMY WALKER AND SO­PHIE HALLERICHARDS

ABITTER work­man sent a dead rab­bit in the post to his for­mer work­place af­ter he was sacked from his job for re­peat­edly car­ry­ing knives, a court heard.

En­gi­neer Derek Gwilliam, 59, of Fo­cant Cres­cent, Hazel Grove, waged a hate cam­paign against his for­mer bosses and col­leagues af­ter he was fired from the fam­ily run firm af­ter 32 years.

Over a five-month pe­riod, Gwilliam posted a series of of­fen­sive so­cial me­dia mes­sages and even made sick Stephen Hawk­ing jokes about a for­mer col­league’s dis­abled son.

The dead rab­bit ar­rived at the com­pany of­fices in Hazel Grove.

At Stock­port Mag­is­trates’ Court, Gwilliam was sen­tenced to 12 weeks’ cus­tody, sus­pended for two years, af­ter ad­mit­ting two counts of harass­ment.

Gwilliam, who also has a pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion for harass­ment, was banned from con­tact­ing the two di­rec­tors and their fam­i­lies for two years af­ter one di­rec­tor was forced to step up se­cu­rity at their home.

Pros­e­cu­tor Irene Rodgers told the court dur­ing a sen­tenc­ing hear­ing on Mon­day, De­cem­ber 17, that the com­pany had be­come aware that Gwilliam had been bring­ing knives into the work­place in March this year.

She said: “He was warned and a for­mal meet­ing took place where he en­sured he wouldn’t do it again.

“How­ever he con­tin­ued bring­ing knives in and dis­play­ing er­ratic be­hav­iour so he was fired from the com­pany a month later.”

Rodgers told the court that on Fri­day, Au­gust 10, a blue wrapped par­cel was de­liv­ered by Royal Mail to the com­pany.

“The post­man said the par­cel smelt very strange, and when they opened the par­cel, they dis­cov­ered a dead rot­ten rab­bit,” she said.

“The of­fences were ini­tially de­nied in in­ter­view how­ever, he was shown CCTV of him putting the items in the post and was forced to ad­mit it.”

In a vic­tim state­ment, one com­pany di­rec­tor said: “He kept bring­ing knives into work and it was fright­en­ing for us. We had no op­tion but to sus­pend him and we made the de­ci­sion to in­ves­ti­gate him.

“We thought it was over but then he kept send­ing Face­book mes­sages and he said I was re­spon­si­ble for the com­pany let­ting him go, and he said he was go­ing to ‘f*** up the two p**cks’ in re­venge.

“It’s been per­son­ally up­set­ting and caused me a lot of con­cern, not just for my com­pany, but also there were threats to me, threats to my wife and my new­born son.

“I have been forced to up my se­cu­rity in my home ad­dress.

“I’m con­cerned to go to and from work, I be­lieve Derek is watch­ing me and check­ing up on me and my wife. He’s made di­rect threats to­wards me in the past.”

Gwilliam apol­o­gised to the court, cit­ing ‘per­sonal fa­mil­ial is­sues’ dur­ing that time.

He said: “I never meant for this to go as far as it has, and for that I apol­o­gise.

“I’m the fa­ther of a dis­abled son who is no longer with us, and for that I have the ut­most re­spect for them. My fa­ther suf­fered a stroke two years ago and I have moved in with him to take care of him.

“I worked there for 30 years. Things were go­ing wrong, my de­pres­sion is get­ting worse. I am go­ing to seek help for my de­pres­sion.

“I know what I have done and I take it se­ri­ously. I put my­self in this sit­u­a­tion and I re­alise how se­ri­ous it is.”

Gwilliam was sen­tenced to 12 weeks’ cus­tody, sus­pended for two years, and was also or­dered to carry out 240 hours’ un­paid work and pay £200 in court costs.

The chair­man of the bench told the de­fen­dant: “This is se­ri­ous enough to cross cus­tody thresh­old but we are go­ing to sus­pend that sen­tence.

“You need to put this be­hind you, enough is enough. You need to look af­ter your health and that of your fa­ther.”

Cavendish Press

●●Derek Gwilliam

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