A West Yorkshire teenager has been found guilty of posting an offensive Facebook message following the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan in the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001.
Azhar Ahmed, 19, of Ravensthorpe, was charged with sending a grossly offensive communication. "All soldiers should die and go to hell", was posted by Ahmed just two days later.
He told Huddersfield Magistrates Court he accepted the message had been "unacceptable" but had denied it was "grossly offensive".
The judge said his comments were "derogatory" and "inflammatory".
The soldiers – killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Lashkar Gah on 6 March – were: Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment and Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, Pte Daniel Wade, 20, and Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.
Ahmed told the court he was only trying to make his point that many other deaths in Afghanistan were being ignored and added he had no idea it would cause so much upset. He said he replied with apologies to many people who commented on his Facebook page and when some told him they had lost relatives in Afghanistan he realised how serious it was. "That's when I realised it was unacceptable for them to see something so upsetting and distressing, to write something like that," he added.
District Judge Jane Goodwin said Ahmed's Facebook remarks were "derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory".