A MAN said to have, “a bee in his bonnet”, over proposed changes to teaching assistants’ terms and conditions, wrote a threatening letter to a police chief, a court was told.

In the correspondence allegedly written by David Lindsay, whose mother was a teaching assistant (TA) at the time, “a price was put on the heads” of the 57 named Labour members of Durham County Council who voted in favour of a review of the TAs’ employment terms.

Durham Crown Court was told the letter was sent to the county’s then Chief Constable, Mike Barton, in February 2017.

But as police inquiries to trace the sender turned to the defendant, and he was charged over that, he is then said to have arranged to have three threatening letters sent, to himself and to two local clergymen in his home village of Lanchester.

In these letters, posted from the US, the purported sender made threats to Mr Lindsay if he was acquitted at trial of sending the original letter.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said a contact of Mr Lindsay in Minnesota in the US, was put up to send those letters to try to help him evade justice over the first threatening letter.

Mr Sabiston told the trial jury there was, “powerful and compelling evidence”, that Mr Lindsay was the author of both, including close comparisons of the language used in his regular online blogs, with the wording and terminology in the letters.

The 42-year-old defendant, of Foxhills Crescent, Lanchester, denies sending a letter with intent to cause distress or anxiety and a second charge of doing an act tending, or intended, to pervert the course of justice.

Outlining the prosecution case in the first allegation, said to have arisen at the time the council announced the plan to review the TAs’ terms, Mr Sabiston said: “Interestingly, the defendant’s mother was a teaching assistant and he seemed to have a bee in his bonnet about this.

“Rather than just raise it in his blog spot, he took it further.”

But Mr Sabiston said Mr Lindsay’s fingerprints were found on the envelope used in the letter addressed to the Chief Constable, sent to Chester-le-Street Police Station.

Mr Lindsay claimed he used local libraries a lot and his fingerprints could have transferred onto someone else’s letter, but Mr Sabiston said this explanation was, “quite ridiculous”.

Mr Sabiston said the sending of the subsequent letters had the desired effect of aborting Mr Lindsay’s original scheduled trial in December 2018 as further inquiries were made in the US.

The trial proceeds today.