Man vowed to kill judge in dispute over mother’s funeral grant

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A MAN man handed a criminal record after vowing to kill a judge in a dispute over his mother’s funeral grant has failed to have his conviction quashed.

Kenneth Stephen Boxall, 58, said he would find out where District Judge Ron Coia lived and shoot him following a hearing into a decision to cut his mother’s funeral allowance.

Boxall, of Pentland Close, was handed a suspended prison sentence in August last year after he was convicted of making a threat to kill at Teesside Crown Court.

Three of the country’s most senior judges at London’s Court of Appeal today rejected a challenge by Boxall against his conviction, saying it was entirely safe.

Mr Justice King said Boxall erupted into the murderous rant after calling Newcastle Tribunal Service on September 1, 2010 to complain about a Department of Work and Pensions decision to cut a grant to cover the expenses of his mother’s funeral.

Slamming a tribunal’s rejection of his appeal against the decision, Boxall told a clerk he would “find Judge Coia’s home and shoot him”, the appeal judge added.

The clerk said she was “shocked” by the 17-minute call and noted what was said, with staff later calling the police. Boxall was arrested and defended himself at trial, denying making the threat and claiming the tribunal staff had made it all up.

Boxall’s wife gave evidence that he “always complained” but that he had not mentioned the judge during the telephone conversation. The jury, however, found him guilty.

On appeal, Boxall made a litany of complaints about his conviction, citing problems with the judge’s directions, the prosecution’s evidence and the conduct of the jury.

But Mr Justice King, sitting with Lord Justice Fulford and Mr Justice Sweeney, concluded: “We cannot find any substance in these grounds. We are satisfied that the prosecution’s written responses provide an answer to each of them.

“We have studied the summing up and we are satisfied that the jury was properly directed. The trial judge told the jury expressly they should only convict if they were sure on the evidence that the Boxall had made a threat to kill.

“We also conclude that there was ample evidence on which the jury could convict and there is no arguable basis that the conviction is unsafe.”