Death Threats for Blencathra Biddersby Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Jul/2014
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Police are investigating claims that two members of the group Friends of Blencathra have been receiving threatening emails and disturbing phone calls. But despite this, and contrary to earlier news, it now looks possible that the group will end up buying the mountain.
One video, sent from a YouTube account, is alleged to depict a mock garroting and a body being dumped in a bin.
In another film, originating from a different account, a group of people is said to be shown in a mountainous location, along with the caption: "In our national forests there are currently 400 unsolved cases of missing persons. Often the bodies are never found."
Over the last few weeks of the campaign the pair say they have also received many phone calls where the caller remained silent but refused to hang up.
In another call one of the victims claims to have been told to 'back off' from their efforts to have Blencathra listed by the local council as an Asset of Community Value, an important step in the group's ongoing effort to buy the mountain property on behalf of the community.
The mystery caller is then alleged to have said that he knew where the recipient lived and worked, and even the sum he owed on his mortgage, and that the campaigner should 'consider your own future'.
Cumbria Police are investigating the harassment claims, and have taken phone record data as part of their inquiry. No one has been arrested.
Though it was widely reported earlier this month (not least on UKH) that Blencathra had been sold to an unnamed bidder by its current owner Lord Lonsdale, the seller's agents have since said that contracts are yet to be exchanged, and that negotiations are in fact continuing with a number of bidders for the c.£2M property.
It now looks as if the people behind the alleged threats may end up disappointed.
On 7 July the Friends succeeded in persuading Eden District Council to register the mountain as an Asset of Community Value. This may help buy the community group some time in negotiating with the owner, and crucially gives them access to sources of matched funding.
Since then the group have had more grounds for optimism. On Tuesday 15 July Friends of Blencathra Chair Debbie Cosgrove issued the following statement:
'I would like to formally announce that the Friends of Blencathra legal team have today confirmed that our latest proposals have been further discussed with Lord Lonsdale’s Agents. This is believed by all involved to be of significant interest to the vendor and to provide them with an offer so attractive that it is likely to result in acceptance by the lead trustees. We anticipate confirmation of this success later this week.'