Brother of Simple Minds singer guilty of stalking two ‘superfans’ of the band
The brother of Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr has been found guilty of stalking two “superfans” of the band.
Paul Kerr threatened to murder John Fagan and drag his wife to a police station by her hair in a row over the Scottish band’s new album, his trial heard.
Kerr, who turned 56 during the trial, also falsely accused John Fagan of raping a nine-year-old boy and posted sexually abusive comments against him and his wife on public Facebook pages.
He was found guilty at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday of two counts of pursuing a course of conduct that amounted to stalking against the Fagans, and a further charge of pursuing a course of conduct that amounted to stalking against his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Vanthof.
The trial heard that Kerr sent emails to two police forces threatening to murder Mr Fagan during the course of an 11-month campaign of abuse between January and November 2018.
Mr Fagan, who lives with his wife Julie Fagan (pictured) in Canterbury, Kent, has seen Simple Minds more than 300 times and was an active member of an online forum about the band.
Best known for their hit single Don’t You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds were the most successful Scottish band of the 1980s.
The dispute started when Mr Fagan replied to a post on Kerr’s public Facebook page about the band’s new album, the court heard.
Mr Kerr had described the new record as “pure shit”.
Prosecutor Jonathan Edwards told the trial: “Mr Kerr, the defendant, posted on his Facebook page that the Fagans had contacted him for help to harm Jim Kerr,” Mr Edwards said.
“That was untrue. Nevertheless it was put out there as a fact by this defendant and then he seemed to escalate things by posting again on his Facebook page that John Fagan was a rapist of a nine-year-old boy.”
The court heard that Kerr took photos from the Fagans’ Facebook pages and reposted them with abusive messages.
Mr Edwards said: “The Fagans were upset, very upset, because what he was posting was untrue but also very fearful because somebody somewhere might believe that stuff that he was posting and take the law into their own hands by trying to harm John or Julie.”
The prosecution alleged that Kerr used fake accounts – including one in the name of his dead mother – to post “sexual abuse and allegations of rape”.
Mr Kerr also threatened to come to Canterbury to “cripple” Mr Fagan and “drag Julie Fagan by her hair” to a police station, the court was told.
The jury also heard how Kerr carried out a stalking campaign against his ex-girlfriend Ms Vanthof between April and November 2018, contacting her at home and at the French university where she worked.
In his defence, Kerr claimed it was the Fagans who had created the fake accounts and posted about themselves.
On the charge relating to Ms Vanthof, his defence barrister Paul Walker said at the start of the trial: “Some of his messages may have been forceful but they do not amount, the defence say, to stalking.”
Kerr was previously jailed for two years at Edinburgh High Court in 1998 for starting a fire at the home of a business associate after a venture went sour.
He was again jailed for two years in 2013 after being convicted at Lewes Crown Court of aggravated burglary, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage.
Kerr will be sentenced on January 6 after the conclusion of a psychiatric report.
VICTIM STILL A SIMPLE MINDS FAN
A Simple Minds “superfan” who was stalked by the brother of the band’s lead singer Jim Kerr says a “horrible nightmare” is now over.
Julie Fagan and her husband John were subjected to an 11-month campaign of vile abuse at the hands of Paul Kerr, who threatened to track them down and hurt them.
Paul Kerr, 56, was convicted of three counts of pursuing a course of conduct that amounted to stalking after a lengthy trial at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday.
The court heard Kerr had said he would “drag Julie Fagan by her hair” to a police station and told police officers that he would murder her husband.
He also posted reams of sexually abusive messages on Facebook about them and falsely accused John Fagan of raping a boy.
Speaking tearfully after the verdict was given, Mrs Fagan, 52, said the stalking and the lengthy trial have been horrific, but she was still a fan of Simple Minds.
She continued: “I am just so relieved, it is the end of a horrible nightmare.
“He has lied all the way through. I felt sick to my stomach.”
Mrs Fagan praised the efforts of Sussex Police – especially DC Jenny Dunn – and the prosecution team who brought Kerr to justice.
But despite the horrors she and her husband suffered at the hands of Paul Kerr, she was adamant that they will not let it affect their love of his brother’s band.
She said they had already made plans to see Simple Minds on their upcoming world tour.
“Going to put this all behind us and move on.
“We have already booked some tickets for next year in Brighton.”
The couple also plan to return to Jim Kerr’s luxury Villa Angela hotel in Sicily, where they celebrate their wedding anniversary every year.
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