Security guard jailed after sending anonymous death threats to Brentwood employer

Christopher Cooknell (pic: Essex Police)

Christopher Cooknell (pic: Essex Police) - Credit: Archant

A security guard who sent anonymous death threats to his employer and tried to frame a pair of gardeners has today been jailed for three years.

Christopher Cooknell, 54, had been employed at Daniel Holloway’s family estate in Brentwood after an aggravated burglary in 2009 made Mr Holloway fearful for his safety.

While working there in December 2012, Cooknell, of Wootton Bridge in Ryde, sent Mr Holloway anonymous text messages threatening to kill him, Basildon Crown Court heard.

The messages left the family in fear they were being targeted again, and they immediately increased their security – resulting in a promotion and pay rise for Cooknell.

An investigation by Essex Police identified that the messages had come from a mobile phone linked to Cooknell. After he was arrested he admitted sending the messages, claiming they were a “prank”.

It was also discovered Cooknell was responsible for an anonymous letter sent to the Holloway family in August 2011, trying to frame their two gardeners for the 2009 burglary.

The letter resulted in the innocent gardeners being arrested and investigated by police.

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Senior investigating officer Det Ch Insp Lucy Robinson said: “Christopher Cooknell is a dangerous man in that he fails to fully comprehend the implications of his actions.

“He has caused a great deal of suffering to the victim and his family by sending distressing text messages and his actions have also resulted in two innocent men being arrested for no reason.

“His motivation appears to be entirely for selfish financial gain and I have no doubt that had his text messages been allowed to continue he would have become increasingly greedy and sought to demand money from Mr Holloway.

“Thankfully it never came to this, but I hope his sentence today reflects the seriousness of his actions.”

Cooknell admitted the charges of making threats to kill and fraud.