January 8th 2014
A man and a woman have pleaded guilty to tweeting abuse, including rape and death threats, to a feminist campaigner.
John Nimmo, 25, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, and Isabella Sorley, 23, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, admitted the charge of sending the messages to 29-year-old Caroline Criado-Perez, shown here.
As first reported on this website in July, Ms Criado-Perez led a successful high-profile campaign against the absence of female faces from British banknotes following the Bank of England's announcement that social reformer Elizabeth Fry was to be dropped from the £5 note in favour of Winston Churchill. The pair sent the tweets after the Bank's Governor Mark Carney revealed that author Jane Austen would replace Charles Darwin on the £10 note … an announcement hailed as a "brilliant day for women" by Ms Criado-Perez.
She tweeted yesterday: "I am hugely relieved that these two defendants have pleaded guilty, meaning that there is no need for a trial and for the whole process to drag on longer – it has already dragged on for almost six months, with all the attendant anxiety you'd expect. This is not a joyful day; these two abusers reflect a small drop in the ocean, both in terms of the amount of abuse I received across July and August, but also in terms of the abuse that other women receive online – women who have little to no recourse to justice." She continued: "However, I hope that for some people who are watching, this conviction will be a warning: online abuse is not consequence-free. I hope that some people watching will think twice before abusing someone else."
Nimmo and Sorley will be sentenced on the 24th of this month.
The threats against Ms Criado-Perez and a number of other prominent women led to Twitter introducing an abuse button.