Author Topic: Jail for forum trolls on Twitter  (Read 1322 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

Jail for forum trolls on Twitter
« on: January 25, 2014, 12:32:57 PM »
Two face jail over Twitter abuse of banknote campaigner

Caroline Criado-Perez received menacing tweets from Isabella Sorley and John Nimmo, who also targeted MP Stella Creasy

Two people are facing jail for subjecting feminist Caroline Criado-Perez to online abuse following a campaign to ensure a woman featured on British bank notes.

Isabella Sorley, 23, used Twitter to tell campaigner Criado-Perez to "f*** off and die you worthless piece of crap", "go kill yourself" and "rape is the last of your worries".

John Nimmo, 25, told Criado-Perez to "shut up bitch" and "Ya not that gd looking to rape u be fine" followed by "I will find you [smiley face]" and then the message "rape her nice ass", Westminster magistrates court heard.

Nimmo also targeted Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, with the message "The things I cud do to u [smiley face]", calling her "Dumb blond bitch."

Nimmo, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, and Sorley, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, are due to be sentenced at the same court on Friday.

They pleaded guilty to sending menacing tweets on 7 January, admitting they were among the users of 86 separate Twitter accounts from which Criado-Perez had received abusive messages.

Following the court hearing, the 29-year-old student thanked people for their support but warned that Sorley and Nimmo represented a "small drop in the ocean" to the amount of abuse she received in July and August.

She tweeted a statement saying: "I am hugely relieved that these two defendants have pleaded guilty, meaning that there is no need for a trial and for the whole process to drag on longer – it has already dragged on for almost six months, with all the attendant anxiety you'd expect.

"This is not a joyful day; these two abusers reflect a small drop in the ocean, both in terms of the amount of abuse I received across July and August, but also in terms of the abuse that other women receive online – women who have little to no recourse to justice.

"However, I hope that for some people who are watching, this conviction will be a warning: online abuse is not consequence-free. I hope that some people watching will think twice before abusing someone else. There is not much else I can say given there are other cases still on-going."

Sorley was warned by district judge Howard Riddle that it is "almost inevitable" that she would receive a jail sentence.

The judge also told Nimmo, described to the court as a "social recluse" who "rarely leaves his house", that "all options" as to his sentence remained open.

Their abuse took place after Criado-Perez led a campaign using social media and backed by high profile public figures for a female figure to appear on a Bank of England note.

On 24 July, the campaign found success when it was announced that novelist Jane Austen would appear on a bank note in the future.

Alison Morgan, prosecuting, said said the "extreme language" used by Nimmo and Sorley had caused "substantial distress or fear".

"Caroline Criado-Perez has suffered life-changing psychological effects from the abuse which she received on Twitter," she told the court.

"In particular, the menacing nature of the tweets sent by both defendants caused her significant fear that they would find her and carry out their threats."

Morgan added that Creasy had also suffered a "substantial impact" as a result of the abuse.

The court heard that MP responded to Nimmo's message of "Dumb blonde bitch" with the message "That's dumb Dr blonde bitch to you".

"Love it at least u can have a laugh," Nimmo responded, to which Creasy said: "I'm not having a laugh, I'm cataloguing your vile conduct #takebacktwitter."

Sorley was arrested in October 2013 at her home in Newcastle and admitted to police that she had sent some of the tweets, suggesting she had been "off my face on drink" at the time, the court heard.

Paul Kennedy, representing Nimmo, described his client as of previous good character, adding: "He is a social recluse, that is exactly what he is really, he rarely leaves the house but to empty the bins.

"He sits in the house 24/7, he has nothing to do, he claims benefits, he is a somewhat sad individual."

the Guardian
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Jail for forum trolls on Twitter
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 12:38:56 PM »
Twitter 'trolls' Isabella Sorley and John Nimmo jailed for abusing feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez

A man and a woman have been jailed for abusing a high-profile feminist campaigner over a social media website.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard the tweets that Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, posted to Caroline Criado-Perez on Twitter.

Sentencing Ms Sorley, of Akenside Hill, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to 12 weeks in prison and Mr Nimmo, of South Shields, Tyne and Wear, to eight weeks, Judge Howard Riddle said it was "hard to imagine more extreme threats".

Among the tweets Ms Sorely directed towards campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez was: "die you worthless piece of crap". Tweets posted by Mr Nimmo included: "I will find you :) ".

On 7 January, Mr Nimmo and Ms Sorley pleaded guilty to sending the tweets, admitting they were among the users of 86 separate Twitter accounts from which Ms Criado-Perez  had received abusive messages.

The pair bombarded Ms Criado-Perez with the abusive messages on separate Twitter accounts last year after she used social media to lead a successful campaign for a female figure to appear on a Bank of England note.

Judge Riddle said that the harm threatened against Ms Criado-Perez "must have been intended to be very high"

Mr Nimmo also targeted his abuse at Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, who was also involved in the campaign.

The judge said the effect of the abuse on Ms Criado-Perez had been "life- changing".

She described "panic and fear and horror" at the tweets, he said.

He added that it had also had a "substantial" impact on Ms Creasy, who has had a panic button installed in her home.

Ms Criado-Perez said she did not feel able to attend today's sentencing.

Writing on Twitter, she said: "I didn't feel I could cope with being in court with them - and I didn't feel sure that the judge would understand how terrifying and scarring the whole experience has been for me, which again is not something I could face.

"I feel immensely relieved that the judge clearly has understood the severity of the impact this abuse has had on me."

She said she would be donating the compensation money to charity.

The judge said of the abusive tweets: "The fact that they were anonymous heightened the fear.

"The victims had no way of knowing how dangerous the people making the threats were, whether they had just come out of prison, or how to recognise and avoid them if they came across them in public."

The court heard that university-educated Ms Sorley has 25 previous convictions, the majority for being drunk and disorderly.

While on bail for this case, she also committed two offences of assaulting a police officer and is awaiting sentence for an assault on New Year's Day, the court heard.

During mitigation, Sean Caulfield who defended Ms Sorley, said she herself was a "victim" of new technology as she did not understand the impact of what she was doing,” although he said she understands now.

Paul Kennedy, representing Mr Nimmo who is unemployed, described him as a "somewhat sad individual" who is "effectively a social recluse".

Mr Kennedy said that, when Mr Nimmo's original tweet was responded to and retweeted, it encouraged him to send more messages as he saw it as an "indication of popularity".

"He said that if that had not happened then he would not have pursued this course of action.

Mr Kennedy said Mr Nimmo had no particular opinion on the campaign but had seen the topic trending on Twitter and his lack of experience of social interaction meant he did not know his behaviour was inappropriate.

The Independent
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