Tommy Robinson hired private investigator to track down journalist writing about him, court hears

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson hired a private investigator to get the details of a journalist whose home he went to unannounced, a court has been told.

Robinson appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court regarding an application for a stalking protection order, made after he went to the home of Independent home affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden and her boyfriend, Samuel Partridge.

Ms Dearden, who gave evidence to the court remotely last week, said she was “too frightened” to answer the door when Robinson turned up.

He arrived at her home on Sunday, 17 January, two days after a request for comment was made through his solicitors about a story alleging he misused money donated by his supporters.

Giving evidence, Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, said he attempted to contact a solicitor on the Saturday, adding that he “panicked” as he had until the Monday to respond.

“I contacted a private investigator,” he said.

“And I asked, and said I’d pay for information to find Lizzie Dearden.”

Robinson told the court he also contacted his “research group which involves many individuals”, adding that he said “find out what you can, everything you can”.

The private investigator came back to him on Sunday with “lots of information” about the journalist, including her address.

Ryan Dowding, representing the Metropolitan Police, put it to Robinson that his intention was to “intimidate” Ms Dearden and prevent her from publishing stories about him more generally.

Robinson disagreed, and claimed he planned to film himself giving Ms Dearden “all of the evidence”.

Ms Dearden previously told the court: “I didn’t know what he was going to do, and, from what I could hear on the intercom and through the street, he sounded very angry and agitated.”

Robinson was also heard shouting about Mr Partridge, “claiming he was a paedophile” – an allegation that was labelled “baseless” and “nonsense”.

Robinson said it came in a comment from someone in the “research group” who he described as “an unreliable source”.

Deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram agreed to impose an interim order in March ahead of the full application for a stalking protection order.

The interim order will remain in place until 13 October, unless it is revoked before that date. Mr Ikram said he will give his judgment on a future date to be fixed.

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