Noted conspiracy blogger, the heavily tattooed Christopher Spivey, lost his appeal against his conviction for harassing the family of murdered soldier Lee Rigby. When we last left Mr Spivey, he had been convicted of criminal harassment, and despite his wailing and moaning that he would be a “dead man walking” if he were convicted, received only the lightest of sentences: six months in prison, suspended for two years. Apparently failing to recognise his own good fortune and call it a day, he launched an appeal against his conviction in October 2015.
According to the Daily Mail,
Christopher Spivey, 54, claimed the murder of Fusilier Rigby, who was hacked to death by terrorists in London in May 2013, was ‘staged’.
Last week the former builder lost an appeal against a suspended six month jail sentence handed down at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court.
During the hearing Spivey, of Rochford, Essex, told a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court: ‘It was a fake event allowed to go ahead by the Government, aided by the security services.’
Spivey believed it was done to ‘whip up racial hatred’.
But Judge Christopher Morgan dismissed Spivey’s appeal and labelled his internet postings on his website as ‘malicious and oppressive’.
He added that Spivey ‘targeted’ Fusilier Rigby’s mother and sister and was aware of the risk they might see what he had written.
He said Spivey took no account of the fact the family were grieving.
Rigby’s mum compelled to testify
Lyn Rigby, mother of the murdered soldier, who was compelled by law to testify at Mr Spivey’s appeal hearing, described being terrorised when Spivey published her address and family photos on his (bizarrely expensive) blog:
She told the court: ‘We just couldn’t go out anywhere. We were frightened to answer the door.
‘It got to the point where my youngest got so frightened she would go around checking on windows and doors three times before she went to bed, over and over again.
‘It made us very frightened. I got very distressed over it as I thought we were being watched all the time.’
Mrs Rigby, who attended the appeal hearing via videolink, said she’d been threatened with arrest if she failed to attend, despite having delivered written witness statements during Mr Spivey’s trial.
According to The Guardian,
Rigby questioned why she and her daughter were made to attend the hearing via videolink from Bury magistrates court after they submitted witness statements. She said: “It’s horrific enough losing my son in such a violent way but to listen to this man’s twisted drivel was just heaping more misery on me.
“I didn’t want to go to court and when I told the police this they replied that me and my daughter Sara would be arrested and prosecuted if we failed to turn up. How was this allowed to happen? We’d already delivered written witness statements the first time round but on his appeal they demanded we appear in court to be questioned over and over.”
During the hearing, Rigby was visibly upset and proceedings had to be paused on occasions. “I was terrified and felt sick to the stomach. The judge had to halt the hearing several times because it was so aggressive and upsetting for me.”
It’s difficult not to feel sympathy for Mrs Rigby, who has surely suffered enough with the loss of her son. In The Mirror, she stated,
“I was trembling from head to foot , I was that scared. I thought I was going to pass out. I couldn’t even speak when they held up the photo of Lee’s killer covered in my boy’s blood.
“I just cried and cried and cried and even the court staff were visibly upset and distressed.
“How was I supposed to react? How do they think I feel about seeing a photo of a man holding a butcher’s knife covered in the blood of my murdered son?
“It’s horrific enough losing my son in such a violent way but to listen to this man’s twisted drivel was just heaping more misery on me.
“He published my address and photos of my house online and we were literally terrified to go out and were constantly in fear of being attacked by lunatics.”
While it seems like the ultimate cruelty to force Mrs Rigby to testify against Mr Spivey yet again, it’s critical to ensure a fair hearing, said lecturer in law Abenaa Owusu-Bempah, quoted in The Guardian:
“As a matter of law, if a witness refuses to give evidence at a trial, they can be compelled to do so. Compelling a witness to give evidence is not a decision that is made lightly. However, it can be necessary to ensure a fair hearing. As this was an appeal from the magistrates’ court, the entire case was heard again in the crown court.
“In difficult cases such as this, measures can be put in place to ease the burden of giving evidence, including via video link. It is important to seek ways to minimise the negative emotional effects of giving evidence. However, at the same time, it is necessary to take account of what is at stake for the appellant and the need to ensure that the original verdict was correct.”
Spivey: ‘I’m the real victim’
Mr Spivey’s original conviction on two charges of harassing Lyn Rigby and Sara McClure will stand, said Judge Christopher Morgan, who dismissed the appeal. At the time of his original sentencing, Mr Spivey was also banned from publishing any information about the Rigby family on the internet, and was ordered to pay £2,000 costs; his computer equipment was also forfeited. Last week, Judge Morgan left the original sentence in place, and ordered Mr Spivey to pay a further £2,000 costs.
According to The Mirror,
The Sunday People approached Spivey at his home and, appallingly, he showed no sympathy for his victims’ ordeal.
He said: “I think they should have appeared in person. I’m the real victim in all this. I’ve been convicted on unsafe evidence.”
Mrs Rigby, though, sees it differently:
“I wish Spivey had gone to prison for what he has done to my family. At the end of the hearing the judge asked if I wanted to say anything and I publicly told Spivey that he was sick and evil and that he had made life hell for my family.
“I can only imagine that he is so twisted that he wanted to somehow glory in the limelight of a terrible murder that had nothing to do with him. It’s the sickest thing.”