September 30th 2014
A Bristol man has been jailed for 18 weeks for sending abusive Twitter messages to Walthamstow Labour MP Stella Creasy, after she campaigned to feature Jane Austen on the £10 banknote.
The City of London Magistrates' Court heard that 33 year-old father Peter Nunn used several Twitter accounts to directly message "menacing" posts threatening to rape Ms Creasy and insulting her. Messages included a description of the "best way to rape a witch" and the comment "If you can't threaten to rape a celebrity, what is the point in having them?"
was found guilty of sending indecent, obscene or menacing messages. A restraining order was also imposed, banning the part time delivery driver from any contact with either Ms Creasy or feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.
Ms Creasy said: "Today's sentence for Peter Nunn is a step forward in recognising the distress and fear online harassment can cause. We now need to ensure our police and criminal justice services are better trained to identify the risks anyone receiving threats faces, whether these are made on or offline so that we can protect those being stalked. Above all, we need to send a clear message that it isn't for anyone to put up with being harassed via any medium – this is an old crime taking a new form online."
Prosecutor Alison Morgan said Nunn's messages had a "substantial" effect on Ms Creasy, who felt "increasing concern that individuals were seeking not only to cause her distress but also to cause her real harm which led her to fear for her own safety". Ms Creasy had a panic button installed in her home following the incident.
Ms Morgan said Ms Criado-Perez's statement described the "fear and horror" she had felt, which had manifested itself in dizzy spells and other physical symptoms.
Nunn's trolling campaign comprised only six tweets, but was persistent, evidenced by the fact that he moved accounts when one was blocked.