Anti-vaxxer who accused Matt Hancock of murder found guilty of harassment | Politics News

An anti-vaccine protester who accused former health secretary Matt Hancock of murdering people during the COVID pandemic has been found guilty of harassment.

Geza Tarjanyi, 62, from Leyland in Lancashire, shoulder-barged Mr Hancock and “shouted ridiculous conspiracy theories” on two separate occasions on 19 and 24 January.

Senior district judge Paul Goldspring said Tarjanyi “deliberately intimidated and harassed” the MP.

Following the verdict, Mr Hancock said: “I am relieved at this guilty verdict. This individual didn’t just attack me, but he’s attacked several MPs and other public servants.

“We in the UK pride ourselves as a global symbol of democracy, built around respectful debate to build a more inclusive and harmonious society. Violence against anyone for their political beliefs is unacceptable.

“I would like to thank the CPS, Transport for London and the British Transport Police who have been fantastic throughout.”

Mr Hancock previously told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he feared the man would push him down an escalator during a confrontation over his handling of the pandemic.

Giving evidence, Mr Hancock said: “As a public figure, I can’t recall a time when I felt as intimidated as this.”

During the first incident on 19 January, Mr Hancock was walking past an anti-vaccination protest near parliament with a member of his staff when Tarjanyi filmed him while asking why he had “killed so many people”, before shoulder barging him, the court heard.

The MP for West Suffolk said he felt “physically intimidated” and “needed to get to a place of safety” during the five-minute interaction, describing the defendant as being “completely unreasonable”.

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“It made me feel unsafe going about my place of work, it made me frustrated that instead of engaging in a normal debate, someone was trying to intimidate me, I thought that was unacceptable,” he told the court.

“I had a pretty good impression he was taken over by these ridiculous conspiracy theories.”


Former British Health Secretary Matt Hancock leaves after testifying at the COVID-19 Inquiry, in London, Britain, June 27, 2023 REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Matt Hancock said he felt ‘physically intimidated’

During the second incident, the defendant is alleged to have followed Mr Hancock through Westminster underground station around 8am on 24 January, before boarding the same train.

The politician, who had just had breakfast with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, told the court he recognised the defendant and felt “more intimidated” because he was alone.

He asked Transport for London (TfL) staff to intervene – but claimed Tarjanyi began harassing “anyone who came to my aid”.

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Mr Hancock said he stopped at the top of an escalator to “resolve the situation” – but that he was “being pushed from behind”.

“Obviously I was extremely worried at this time,” he told the court.

“If I had lost my balance at this point, I would have tumbled down the escalator.

“I had to work to maintain my balance and stop myself falling down the escalator.”

Mr Hancock resigned as health secretary in June 2021, admitting to breaching his own social-distancing guidelines when leaked CCTV showed him kissing his married lover, aide Gina Coladangelo, in his office.

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He later found himself embroiled in further scandal when he jetted to the Australian jungle for a controversial appearance on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! – which led to the whip being suspended.

Mr Hancock later confirmed in December that he would not stand at the next general election.