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British Viscount Rhodri Philipps jailed for 12 weeks over racist Brexit threat

Philipps had offered to pay anyone who "accidentally" ran over Brexit campaigner Gina Miller. He had described her on Facebook as a "bloody troublesome first generation immigrant."

Rhodri Colwyn Philipps, 4th Viscount St Davids, was sentenced at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday to twelve weeks in prison for his online remarks.

Sentencing Judge Emma Arbuthnot told Philipps he had been motivated "by your hatred of anybody who has different views to yours and to any who have recently arrived in this country." She ordered the reportedly twice-bankrupt Philipps to pay 500 pounds ($650 or 560 euros) in compensation.

The 50-year-old Viscount made his remarks last November, four days after Guyana-born entrepreneur Gina Miller successfully took the British government to court to force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek parliamentary approval for leaving the European Union.

Watch video 02:12

Brexit claimant targeted by threats

A bounty to run over Miller

Philipps had offered 5,000 pounds on Facebook to anyone who "accidentally" ran Miller over. "If this is what we should expect from immigrants, send them back to their stinking jungles," he wrote.

The Viscount, who is also known as Lord St Davids, was convicted on two counts of sending a menacing public communication. One concerned Miller and the other was about an immigrant receiving benefits who had featured in a news article. Philipps had offered money to "carve .. into pieces" the individual who was reported to have turned down a five-bedroom council house for his family of eight children.

Read more: Are Theresa May's days numbered?

Miller reacted to the sentence saying it was too lenient. "I think the severity of an attempt to have me killed is much more than just a malicious communication," she said.

"There was this apprehension that somehow this case would open the floodgates," Miller added. "But I think the floodgates should be opened, because people are crossing the lines of decency."

Prosecutors had called for more

Philipps' threat had prompted prosecutors to seek a longer sentence.  "The menacing comment by Philipps about Gina Miller was clearly racially motivated and as a result he has received a longer sentence today to reflect the hate crime element," prosecution lawyer Kate Mulholland said.

Miller also criticized Facebook for not removing the post. "Facebook allowed the post to be published, and didn't take it down," Miller said. "So Facebook are culpable."

Read more: Hate speech curb should look beyond Facebook, Twitter

The threats had made Miller fear for her own and her family's safety.

Philipps, who lives in the Knightsbridge area of London, said the posts were intended to be humorous and were only visible to his friends on Facebook.

jm/rt (Reuters, AP)

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