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A Portsmouth man was found guilty yesterday of threatening to kill an American woman he met online.

Paul Clark, an electronics engineer, became obsessed with Brandy Arnett after chatting with her via email. When he discovered she was already married he became enraged and started sending her threatening emails.

In one, he said: "You have signed your own death warrant. I have contacts in the US who will gladly carry out the task of terminating you."

He was convicted on two counts of making threats to kill, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of ten years.

He was also accused of soliciting to murder, and was alleged to have set up a Web site offering $25,000 to anyone who killed Arnett and her husband.

However, he was cleared of this charge and told the jury that it had been intended as a hoax. He said: "I didn't intend her to believe the threat would be carried out. It was just tit for tat. My intention was to create a hoax page pretending to arrange a contract killing."

The jury at Winchester Crown Court found Clark delivered its verdict by a 10:2 majority. Clark is due to be sentenced on 21 December. ®

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