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Internet crime: 'Troll' sentenced to jail for cyberbullying

A man who posted offensive messages and videos online on memorial pages for teenagers who had tragically died has been sentenced to jail.

Twenty-five-year-old Sean Duffy from Reading would find out about deaths in the media and then use websites such as YouTube and Facebook to cause "untold harm" by leaving malicious posts, an activity known as 'trolling'.

Mr Duffy created a Facebook page called Tasha the Tank Engine and linked it to a page made to remember 15-year-old Natasha MacBryde who committed suicide on railway tracks near her home on 14 February this year.

He also left messages about 17-year-old Lauren Drew, who died from an epileptic attack, which were to offensive to be reported in the media. Her family were left "devastated" by his posts.

Lauren's mother Carole Gelder said: "I remember going to lie next to Lauren in the cemetery and thinking 'I can't stop this person hurting her'.
"It's something that we shouldn't have to go through. I'm just glad it's over today."

In total, Mr Duffy targeted four teenagers. In court it was explained that he had not realised what affect his malicious posts made on the teenagers' families due to his Asperger's Syndrome and that he now regretted his actions.

But he was found guilty of two charges under the Malicious Communications Act and was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail.

He was also served an Asbo that prevents him from creating accounts with social networking sites for the next five years.

Heather Bates, the sister of one if his victims, said in a statement: "No one had the right to do this to our families."

Related links:

Read more on the story (Sky News)
Read about cyberbullying (FindLaw)
Find local specialist solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)