Two superfans of rock group Simple Minds were stalked online by the brother of lead singer Jim Kerr following a row about the band’s most recent album, a court has heard.
Paul Kerr, 55, faces a trial charged with two counts of stalking causing fear of violence against John and Julie Fagan and one of stalking causing “serious alarm” against his former partner, Elisabeth Vanthof, last year.
The Fagans were abused online and in texts, in which they were called “pig-whore” and rape threats were made, Brighton Magistrates Court was told. The court heard the couple had been to hundreds of Simple Minds gigs and were even married in a hotel owned by Jim Kerr, which they return to every year.
Paul Kerr appeared in the dock unshaven, in a purple shirt and navy blue suit and only spoke to confirm his name, date of birth, address and give his nationality as “Scottish”. The allegations emerged after he denied the charges during a preliminary hearing at the court.
The charges state he “pursued a course of conduct which amounted to stalking and which caused” the Fagans to fear violence on at least two occasions between 1 January and 17 November last year.
They alleged he sent “text messages and published statements online about the violence”.
He was also accused of stalking Ms Vanthof, causing “serious alarm or distress” by sending “numerous emails, text messages, many numerous telephone calls and left numerous voice messages” between 20 April and 17 November last year.
Paul Lamb, prosecuting, said: “This all stems from, in fact, association with the band Simple Minds. The defendant is the brother of the singer of that band; the complainants are fans of that band. This started when the band in 2018 launched a new album: there was various discussion online, he then pursued this course.”
Ed Fish, defending, said: “They [the Fagans] have made some comments on Facebook pages, blogs about a new album, it’s then their allegation they have received abuse from they say Mr Kerr. He denies that.”
The prosecution made an application for the case to be tried in a crown court due to its “complex issues” and as Kerr was facing more than two years in jail for each count.
But the court ruled that a district judge would deal with it as a three-day trial, meaning it will not go in front of a jury.
Kerr was released on conditional bail and has been ordered not to contact the alleged victims.