Woman Sundas Alam
admits email threats to
Bradford MP Naz Shah

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LONDON: A Labour MP has described how her children were forced to flee her home in the middle of the night after she received death threats. Naz Shah, who is shadow minister for community cohesion, was speaking after Sundas Alam, 30, admitted threatening the Bradford West MP via email.

According to BBC report, Ms Shah said she had received many death threats before, but this was the first time she had ever dialled 999. “I really genuinely felt it was an immediate firearms threat,” she said.

Bradford Labour MP Naz Shah

Alam, of Princeville Street, Bradford, had previously denied three charges of sending malicious communications to Ms Shah and a charge of perverting the course of justice. However, on Thursday she changed her pleas to guilty on the third day of a trial at York Crown Court.

The court heard Ms Shah was so upset by five emails she received on 3 April that she called 999, the Telegraph & Argus reported. The paper said the messages included phrases such as “you are going to die this week coming” and “you won’t see your children” as well as sexual threats and insults.

It reported that prosecutors said Alam had deliberately used spoof email addresses to make it appear they were coming from someone else. That resulted in the arrest in the early hours of 4 April of three people – Alam’s former line manager, his wife and brother.

They were later released without charge, once it became clear who was the source of the emails. Ms Shah said Alam’s actions had led to an entirely innocent family being dragged out of their beds by armed police and questioned for 20 hours by officers responding to her alert. “I can’t imagine what they went through,” she said.

Praising the actions of West Yorkshire Police, Ms Shah said it was the first time she had dialled 999, but she had “genuinely felt it was an immediate firearms threat”.

“It was the length of time between one email and the other,” she said.

“I was thinking, ‘this is somebody stewing, this is somebody stewing for so many hours and actually saying, ‘how do you want this rifle to your head or through the window’.” Ms Shah added: “At the time it was really, really real.”

The MP said after making the call, she remained at home to wait for the police, but her priority was to make sure her children were taken to a safe place.

She said: “You should never get used to people threatening your family. It shouldn’t be a pre-requisite for doing the job.”

Alam was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on 29 November.