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Two men charged over malicious communications sent to Angela Rayner

The arrests were part of Operation Octant.

23 February 2022

Two men have been charged after malicious communications were sent to Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said Stuart Kelly, 53, of East Park Road, Halifax and Michael McGrath, 71, of Silkstone Crescent, Sheffield have both been charged with sending an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message to a woman in Tameside, Greater Manchester.

The arrests were part of Operation Octant, and both men have been bailed before an appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on March 17.

Kelly’s charge is in relation to telephone calls made to the 41-year-old woman on October 15 last year, the force said.

McGrath’s charge is in connection with an email sent to the same woman the following day.

The men will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Nick Ansell/PA)
The men will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Nick Ansell/PA)

Ms Rayner, 41, is MP for Ashton-under-Lyne in Tameside.

Last month GMP said they had arrested a 68-year-old man in Brighton as part of Operation Octant.

They said then it was the fourth arrest made in connection with abusive messages sent to the MP, with one man previously having been charged and handed a suspended prison sentence.

A spokesman for Ms Rayner said last month: “We are working with the police to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice and Angela would like to thank the police for their work during these investigations.

“Abuse and threats of this nature don’t just have an impact on Angela but also on her family, her children and her staff, who are on the receiving end of these communications.”

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