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UUP west Tyrone By-election candidate Chris Smyth reports online death threats to PSNI

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UUP councillor Chris Smyth

A UUP candidate standing in the west Tyrone by-election has reported death threats he received online to the PSNI.

Chris Smyth, a councillor in the Fermanagh and Omagh District, was branded an “English Smythie invader” and told he was “lucky to be alive” and should “already be dead” on an online post.

Mr Smyth told the Newsletter: “I will not be driven out of here. This is my home. I have every right to live here. I was born here and I will certainly not be driven out or cowed by trolls on social media.”

He added he would be sending the posts to the PSNI to investigate.

Sinn Fein candidate Órfhlaith Begley said: “These threats are totally unacceptable and should be condemned by all. No-one should be subjected to this kind of abuse simply because they are prepared to put themselves before the public in an election.

“Unfortunately, it seems that online abuse seems to becoming more and more prevalent but I want to offer my support to Chris and I am absolutely certain that the overwhelming majority of people will find this abuse absolutely abhorrent.”

Other candidates standing in the by-election on Thursday are Thomas Buchanan (DUP), Stephen Donnelly (Alliance) and Daniel McCrossan (SDLP).

The by-election was called after the resignation of Sinn Fein's Barry McElduff.

The former MP quit in January, 10 days after a controversy flared when he tweeted a video of himself with a Kingsmill-branded loaf on his head on the anniversary of the 1976 Kingsmill massacre.

He insisted it was not an intentional reference to the murders of 10 Protestant workmen by republican paramilitaries, but he acknowledged he had caused hurt and offence to victims' families.

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UUP councillor Chris Smyth