The brother of Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr has been jailed for nine years after threatening to murder and rape two “super fans” of the band during a long-running stalking campaign.
Paul Kerr, 56, of Warwick Mount, Montague Street, Brighton, was behind a long-running stalking campaign targeting John and Julie Fagan, accusing Mr Fagan of sexually abusing young boy patients.
Kerr also harassed his former partner Elisabeth Vanthof, accusing her of making a false rape allegation against him and stealing from him and wrote to her employer to try to get her sacked.
He was jailed by Judge Stephen Mooney at Lewes Crown Court this afternoon (Monday 6 January) for an extended term of six years with a further three years on licence.
Judge Mooney said that the “persistent abuse”, which started exactly two years ago, was in response to an innocent Facebook post about Scottish band Simple Minds by Mr Fagan.
The judge said: “Your response to that post was relentless, cruel and to both Mr and Mrs Fagan life-altering.
“You made threats towards them and persistently accused Mr Fagan of committing the most evil of offences against children.
“You sought to justify your behaviour and portrayed yourself as a victim and suggested that it was the Fagans who were pursuing you.”
He said that Mr Fagan, 51, a nurse from Canterbury, Kent, and Mrs Fagan, 52, who works with adults with challenging behaviour, were so traumatised that they installed security cameras and a fireproof letterbox at their home.
And he added that all three victims suffered “serious distress and significant psychological harm” as a result of Kerr’s campaign of abuse.
The judge said that there were aggravating factors, including previous convictions for serious offences, including arson and assault.
Kerr’s actions had arisen out of “seemingly innocuous business disputes one of which resulted in the victim’s home being set alight”, the judge said.
In the latest case, he said, Kerr had “overreacted to a harmless Facebook post” and the ending of a short-lived relationship.
He said: “What happened was massively disproportionate and caused enormous harm and distress. You pose a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm.”
The judge also served Kerr with an indefinite restraining order.
Afterwards the Fagans said that Kerr had put them through a two-year nightmare. Mrs Fagan said: “I feel sorry for his family.”
Mr Fagan said that the case had been billed as a spat over a Simple Minds album but, he said: “In reality, it was nothing to do with that.
“It started with him leaving a comment on his brother’s Facebook page calling the new album pure shit.
“I posted a reply saying it was a mistake to get rid of the drummer and the keyboard player.
“There must have been more than a hundred comments. What we’ve asked ourselves ever since is, why us? What did we do to provoke all this?
“We think that because of his bitter dispute with his brother, he’d gone on to our Facebook page and seen our picture with his brother.”
The couple had seen the band many times and honeymooned at singer-songwriter Jim Kerr’s Italian hotel, Villa Angela, in Taormina, Sicily.
Mr Fagan said that Paul Kerr was bad not mad despite trying to hide behind mental illness and that he had “a big fall from grace”.
Mrs Fagan thanked Detective Constable Jenny Dunn and Sussex Police “for the hundreds of hours they put into the investigation and the prosecution”.