Troll sentenced to 18 weeks over heartless Facebook posts
A judge has issued a stark message to internet trolls by sending one to prison for 18 weeks for mocking the deaths of teenagers.
Sean Duffy was sentenced after targeting Facebook tribute pages of various teenagers, but was singled out for his offensive remarks and postings about the death of 15-year-old Natasha MacBryde, who was killed when hit by a train in Worcestershire.
Duffy, who the court heard suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, pleaded guilty to two counts of “sending malicious communications” to a Facebook tribute account set up by the girl’s brother shortly after MacBryde’s apparent suicide, according to The Guardian.
The day after her death, Duffy posted hurtful comments, including “I fell asleep on the track lolz” as friends and family were still trying to come to terms with what had happened.
You have caused untold distress to already grieving friends and family
Duffy followed this up by creating a YouTube animation titled “Tasha the Tank Engine” with the girl’s face pasted onto the front of the popular children’s character Thomas.
The attacks followed similar incidents in which Duffy had defaced pictures of other teenagers.
The court heard that Duffy had daubed pictures of one victim, who had died in a car crash, with crosses over her eyes and stitches on her head, along with a caption beneath a picture of flowers left at the crash site saying: “Used car for sale, one useless owner.”
The court said the nature of the campaign the meant a jail term was the only option. “You have caused untold distress to already grieving friends and family,” chair of the bench Paul Warren said, according to The Guardian. “The offences are so serious only a custodial sentence could be justified.”
Duffy was also given a five-year antisocial behaviour order banning him from accessing social-network sites and the condition that he must inform police if he buys a mobile phone with internet access.