AN American who claims to have sent mail to County Durham at the request of a man now being accused of sending threatening letters has been told to go and try to find evidence of emails sent between them.

Minneapolis resident Matthew Cooper is giving evidence in the trial of David Lindsay, from Lanchester, near Consett, who is accused of sending a letter making threats towards 57 members of Durham County Council.

Mr Lindsay, who denies the charge, is also accused of perverting the course of justice by arranging for three letters to be sent to the UK shortly before he was due to stand trial in December 2017.

As a result of the letters, purporting to threaten Mr Lindsay's life should he be acquitted, which were sent to the defendant, in June 2017, and two priests in Lanchester, in November, the trial was abandoned.

The letters were traced to Mr Cooper, who said he had sent them in November 2017 after being asked to by Mr Lindsay.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, says the letters were sent at Mr Lindsay's request as an attempt to derail the trial.

The Northern Echo:

David Lindsay is standing trial at Durham Crown Court

Durham Crown Court has been hearing evidence from Mr Cooper, via a video link from St Paul, in Minnesota.

The court started after lunch to accommodate the six-hour time difference, with Mr Cooper starting his evidence shortly after 8am, US time.

He told the court he had never met Mr Lindsay but had communicated with him via his blog, social media and through emails. He said he had first come into contact with him in 2010 after leaving a comment on his blog, which is largely devoted to politics and foreign affairs.

He said he had been asked to give support to Mr Lindsay's political campaigns, including adding his signature to petitions and "a few" monetary contributions.

He said Mr Lindsay had also sent him some money to help with a job search when he was unemployed.

When asked why he sent the letters to Mr Lindsay, Reverend Rupert Kalus and Father Cornelius O'Connor, he said he was asked to send them via email.

He added he had not read them and was not aware of their full contents until he was shown by British crime investigators.

When asked what he thought of Mr Lindsay's request, he said: "I did think it was a little strange but I think probably he wanted to make a bigger impact. That was my thought process at the time."

He claims on another occasion he was asked to post 30 letters by Mr Lindsay.

Mr Lindsay denies there having been any email correspondence between them.

Chris Morrison, defending, made an application to ask Mr Cooper to make a search of his emails and archives for evidence of any emails.

Judge Christopher Prince said: "We want you to go back to your email accounts and the request is that you try and find all and any correspondence you say you have exchanged with Mr Lindsay.

"That includes you looking in any currently active email accounts, any archives and any deleted item files."

On Monday, the court heard Mr Lindsay's fingerprints had been found on a letter, which had been sent to Durham Police in February 2017, putting a price on the heads of 57 Labour councillors who had voted in favour of a review of pay and conditions of teaching assistants.

Mr Lindsay, whose mother was a teaching assistant at the time, and admits supporting their campaign, denies sending the letter and told police his fingerprints could have been found on it because he may have handled it in a library.

The trial continues.