A MAN has been found guilty of threatening an MP by holding up a makeshift gallows with a noose outside Parliament.

Lance O’Connor called out the name of Hove MP Peter Kyle in Parliament Square, while he was walking back to his office on October 20 last year, a court heard.

The Labour MP saw O’Connor standing with the six foot tall gallows and noose after hearing someone call his name.

Mr Kyle said he then saw the defendant pointing at the object and saying: “This is what happens to traitors.”

The Argus: Lance O’Connor outside Parliament on October 20 last year Lance O’Connor outside Parliament on October 20 last year

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Neeta Minhas found O’Connor guilty of causing Mr Kyle harassment, alarm or distress after a trial on Tuesday.

She handed O’Connor a conditional discharge for 12 months, meaning he must not commit another offence within that period.

She also ordered the 57-year-old to pay £660, including £200 to Mr Kyle.

She told him: “I make the finding that he was caused harm, alarm or distress by your behaviour, by the gallows”, adding that Mr Kyle had felt so threatened that he ran away.

“I make the finding that there can be no other reason while holding these gallows and directing them towards a Member of Parliament save to cause harassment, alarm or distress.”

O’Connor said he would be appealing against the decision and muttered “complete travesty” as he left court.

One of his supporters in the public gallery – who included Piers Corbyn – said “disgusting behaviour” and was told to stand up by the judge as she left the room.

The Argus: Lance O’Connor (right) and Piers Corbyn Lance O’Connor (right) and Piers Corbyn

Mr Kyle said the verdict gave him “huge relief”.

“This guilty verdict gives me huge relief, not for myself but our whole politics,” he said. “Political debate is precious, it needs protecting from threat and violence.

“I’m so grateful to our police and those who prosecuted this case so professionally. Thank you.”

During the trial, Mr Kyle said he felt “chilled” and “threatened”, especially in light of Conservative MP Sir David Amess being murdered a week earlier.

Giving evidence, Mr Kyle said the tone of the voice he heard was “an angry shout.”

He added: “I saw a man standing there holding gallows with a noose in Parliament Square. When I looked briefly the first time I did not quite take it in. It was only when I continued walking that the impact of what I had seen struck me.

“The word ‘traitor’ was being used and then, when I looked across the road again, a man said, ‘This is what we do with traitors’.”

Mr Kyle said he saw the man pointing up at the noose and took a photo which he later posted on Twitter, and was shown to the court.

He said he then ran back to his office as he saw the action as a “direct threat to me and a direct threat to other members of Parliament”.

“I was shocked, I was chilled, I was threatened,” he added.

Mr Kyle spoke about how Sir David had been killed a week before, saying: “There was an atmosphere around Westminster that was chilling so to see that was horrifying.”

O’Connor later told the court he did not intend to cause distress but was protesting about “draconian” lockdown measures that were in force at the time.