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South Wales man admits abusive messages over murdered teacher

A man from South Wales has admitted sending offensive messages via Twitter concerning the murder of school teacher Ann Maguire, and is due to be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court, reports the BBC.

Robert Riley, of Port Talbot in South Wales, appeared in a magistrates' court in Leeds charged with sending a message of a grossly offensive, abusive or malicious character.

The 42-year-old posted a string of offensive messages on Twitter, some of which concerned the murdered school teacher Ann Maguire, who was stabbed to death by a 15-year-old student at Corpus Christi Catholic School in Leeds last week.

Mr Riley was hauled before magistrates in Leeds after sending the messages, which is an offence under section 127 (1) (a) of the Communications Act 2003.

The test required is whether the person or people to whom the message relates would find the message offensive.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison, or a fine not exceeding £5,000 or both.

The case was referred to Swansea Crown Court, after the judge accepted that sentencing Mr Riley to spend any time in a prison in Leeds would probably put him in grave danger.

The court heard that Mr Riley was 'mortified' by his own behaviour.

Michael Walsh is Mr Riley's solicitor.

"He is mortified by his own behaviour and he apologises for any upset that may have been caused to everybody," he told the court.

Mr Riley is the second person to be charged following the stabbing of Ann Maguire after a 21-year-old, Jake Newsome, was also charged with an offence under the 2003 Act for tweeting offensive messages about the death of Mrs Maguire.