Victorian man, 25, charged with allegedly threatening to kill ABC journalist Mark Willacy

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Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

A 25-year-old Victorian man has been charged with threatening and menacing ABC journalist Mark Willacy and his family following an investigation by police.

Victoria police said a Lara man was arrested following a report of an alleged threatening phone call. He was charged with one count of making a threat to kill and using a telecommunication device to menace.

The ABC on Wednesday night reported the charges related to an alleged anonymous threatening voicemail message Willacy received in November.

“Hey Mark, how you going you fucking paedo cunt,” the caller allegedly said, according to the ABC. “I hope your kids get Covid and I’m going to slit your old lady’s throat, ya dog.”

Willacy, an ABC investigations reporter, was in 2020 awarded a Gold Walkley for his reporting on alleged war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. He has reported for the national broadcaster in more than 30 countries and was twice named Queensland journalist of the year.

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In August, Willacy published a book piecing together eyewitness accounts of alleged war crimes, including how a soldier allegedly shot and killed a young disabled Afghan man in 2012.

“These are soldiers who want the regiment’s honour, its prestige, its reputation restored,” the author of Rogue Forces: An Explosive Insiders’ Account of Australian SAS War Crimes in Afghanistan told Guardian Australia.

“This is a book about veterans, it’s a book about veterans who are suffering, and they are suffering because of what they’ve experienced during their service in Afghanistan.”

The ABC declined to comment on Wednesday night. The 25-year accused has been summoned to appear at Geelong magistrates court in June 2022.

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