Threats left university professor fearing for his life
A RESEARCHER left his university boss fearing for his life with menacing e-mails and phone calls, a court heard.
Cosimo Buffone told University of Nottingham professor Seamus Garvey he would "get him" and sent an e-mail describing weapons he would use.
In an April 2010 e-mail, Buffone told the professor, who is a mechanical engineering specialist, he had a handgun, saying: "And I will use it at their brain level: one single deadly shot."
The 38-year-old had turned on the professor in early 2010 after he raised concerns about comments Buffone made to him about having three people at his former employer Rolls-Royce killed by hitmen.
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Buffone was arrested that year but left for the continent while on bail. He was re-arrested after returning to the country last month and brought back before Nottingham Magistrates' Court yesterday.
Wayne Wallis, prosecuting, told the court Buffone made two threatening phone calls to Professor Garvey in March and April 2010, followed by the e-mail about a gun.
After his arrest he failed to show up at court in August 2010 and headed to Italy, where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and later Belgium.
Professor Garvey said in a witness statement he had become fearful again when Buffone sent him an offensive e-mail in May 2011, a year after the first threats.
Bill Soughton, defending, told the court Buffone had come back to the UK on October 31 for a job interview at Portsmouth University.
He added his bipolar disorder had been diagnosed and was being controlled with medication.
There was now "no threat" to the professor, he added, and Buffone wanted to return to Belgium.
In sentencing Buffone, whose address was given as Boulevard du Triomphe, Brussels, magistrates said they heard "no corroborating evidence" his mental health problems gave rise to his offending.
Buffone, who had been on remand since his arrest on October 31, was released yesterday after being given 12 weeks in prison for harassment, four weeks consecutively for sending a malicious communication and two weeks consecutively for failing to appear at court, all suspended for two years.
He had admitted all the charges.
He was also banned from re-entering Notts for two years and given a restraining order banning him from contacting Professor Garvey.