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UK's worst spammer loses appeal

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The UK's biggest spammer, convicted on a variety of charges ranging from fraud and blackmail to making threats to kill and sentenced to six years imprisonment, has failed in an appeal court bid to quash two of his convictions.

Peter Francis-Macrae, 24, of St Neots, Cambs, argued that two of his convictions - involving concealing criminal property and fraud - were unsafe.

But appeal court judges rejected arguments that the jury in the case had been misdirected by the trial judge's summing up of the case and dismissed the appeal, the BBC reports.

During his original November 2005 trial, Peterborough Crown Court heard that Francis-Macrae made an estimated £1.6m from a series of domain name scams, promoted through spam email. Francis-Macrae allegedly threatened to slit the throats of trading standards officers investigating complaints about his activities. He was also accused of telling a police switchboard operator, who'd recently been diagnosed with cancer, that he hoped she caught the disease.

Operating from a bedroom in his father's home in the village of of St Neots, Cambs, Francis-Macrae made a small fortune through a series of domain registration scams. He was convicted of fraudulently selling unavailable .eu domains among other scams dating back five years. He was also accused of sending out fraudulent re-registration letters to UK domain owners.

His income financed his purchase of designer gear (£12,000 of Yves Saint Laurent clothing) and £16,000 in helicopter lessons, a lifestyle Francis-Macrae was intent on safeguarding at all costs through a series of anti-social actions that ultimately proved his undoing.

After police first questioned Francis-Macrae, he allegedly sent out a bulk mail with the phone number of the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, promoting recipients to phone up the police to complain.

In February 2006, after a second trial, he was found guilty of threatening to kill police officers investigating his case. He also threatened to plant a car bomb at the Cambridgeshire force's headquarters in a letter to his solicitors sent while he was awaiting his first trial. In June 2006, Francis-Macrae was given an additional 12 months sentence and made the subject of an anti-social behavior order preventing from contacting police or trading standards officers for two years after his release. ®

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