Troll Sent Disturbing and Indecent Messages via the Social Media Website
33-year-old Peter Nunn has been jailed for 18 weeks after sending indecent messages to MP Stella Creasy and feminist Caroline Criado-Perez in July 2013.
The controversy began when the two women campaigned to have Jane Austen’s face put onto the £10 note. Creasy then received disturbing messages from the defendant in which he threatened to rape her and branded her and Perez witches. A restraining order has also been issued against Nunn.
The arrest marks a trend in the crackdown against people posting threatening messages online where they can in fact face criminal prosecution. Ms Creasy said “Today’s sentence for Peter Nunn is a step forward in recognising the distress and fear online harassment can cause.
“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.”
Nunn reportedly showed no emotion as the sentence was passed. Creasy claimed to have installed a panic alarm in her home for fear that Nunn would attack her at any point. She also developed dizzy spells and other physical symptoms as a result of her “fear and horror”.
This is not the first time Twitter has been embroiled in bullying incidents. In 2010 Paul Chambers was almost arrested for tweeting a bomb threat to an airport, which he claimed was a joke on his part. More recently twitter users posted explicit photoshopped images of Emma Watson after she launched the #heforshe campaign at the UN conference.
These cases display the growing issue of anonymity and censorship on the internet when bullying goes too far. Celebrities and even members of the public believe threats made on the internet deserve to be taken seriously. Creasy concluded “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.”