A UK man
has been jailed for 18 weeks after trolling pages set up on social networks for girls who have died.
Sean Duffy, of Reading, Berkshire, posted negative comments on social
networking site pages in remembrance of girls who
have died, such as Worcester teenager Natasha MacBryde who killed herself by
throwing her body under a train due to bullying reports the BBC.
Duffy targeted the bereaved relatives of the deceased, which were people he did
not know. Duffy would send hurtful emails or post provocative posts on sites
like Facebook and YouTube in hopes of prompting emotionally loaded responses.
In MacBryde's case, he called her a "slut" in one of his posts. He
also posted a video on YouTube called "Tasha the Tank Engine," which
depicted the children's character Thomas the Tank Engine with MacBryde's face
Duffy pleaded guilty on two counts of sending a communication of an offensive
or indecent nature. The charges were related to the Facebook and YouTube posts
about MacBryde. Duffy has been jailed for 18 weeks.
The case places a spotlight on cyberbullying
and trolling, which have become increasingly problematic in recent years as
social networks and other electronic communication mediums become more widely
"People feel protected
by anonymity and the true nature of
people comes to the fore," said Fevzi Turkalp, a technology expert from
gadgetdetective.com. "Someone will go onto an Apple website and say
something derogatory about Apple, knowing full well people on there will be
fans of Apple, in order to provoke a response."
"Misuse of Internet sites can destroy teachers' confidence and professional
reputation and provide yet another vehicle for false allegations against
staff," added Chris Keates, General Security of the NASUWT teacher's union.
"New cases of abuse, harassment and humiliation are emerging all the
Duffy never knew MacBryde or her family.