Memorial cyber bully heading to prison

13 Sep 2011

A 25-year-old man who posted malicious images and messages on memorial websites for dead teenagers has been sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and has been banned from using social networking sites for five years.

The court heard Sean Duffy, from Reading, Berkshire, had been “trolling” – or posting vile images and messages onto Facebook tribute pages set up for youngsters who recently died.

In one case, Duffy posted online a video titled ‘Tasha the Tank Engine’ regarding 15-year-old Natasha MacBryde, who died after being hit by a passenger train.

MacBryde’s family said the video left them “shocked, outraged and physically sick”.

The court also heard that Duffy had posted defaced photos of the teenagers on the websites.

Duffy, who received the maximum sentence possible, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Malicious Communications Act in relation to MacBryde.

“You have caused untold distress to already grieving friends and family. The offences are so serious only a custodial sentence could be justified,” the Daily Mail reported Chair of the Bench Paul Warren as having said.

“The case serves to illustrate the malicious use and harm and damage of social networking.”

The court heard that Duffy – who did not know any of the teenagers – has Asperger’s syndrome and problems with alcohol.