7 Jan 2014

Twitter trolls plead guilty to abusive tweets

Two people in their 20s plead guilty to sending “menacing” tweets to Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigned successfully to get a woman’s image on British banknotes.

John Nimmo, 25, from South Shields, and Isabella Sorley, 23, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, pleaded guilty at Westminster magistrates’ court.

The pair admitted sending messages to Ms Criado-Perez last July, after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced that Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen would replace Charles Darwin as the face of the £10 note.

The decision was made following months of campaigning by Ms Criado-Perez, a 29-year-old student, and was hailed a triumph for feminism.

But on Twitter, she was told to “f*** off and die you worthless piece of crap”, “go kill yourself” and “rape is the last of your worries” by Sorley in a series of tweets, the central London court heard.

Sorley also sent the following message to Ms Criado-Perez: “I’ve only just got out of prison and would happily do more time to see you berried!!(sic) #tenfeetunder not scared at what you will do!”

Nimmo was released on bail, while Sorley was remanded in custody. They will both be sentenced on 24 January.

Nimmo’s lawyer (pictured right) blamed his actions on an attempt to get attention, and said he had little social life and “nothing to do”. The court heard that he had no history of previous convictions.

Alison Morgan, prosecuting, said Ms Criado-Perez had received some kind of abusive message from some 86 Twitter accounts, including those accounts attributed to both Nimmo (pictured right) and Sorley.

“Caroline Criado-Perez has suffered life-changing psychological effects from the abuse which she received on Twitter,” she told the court.

“In particular, the menacing nature of the tweets sent by both defendants caused her significant fear that they would find her and carry out their threats,” she said.

Sorley and Nimmo pleaded guilty to contravening Section 1271a of the communications act 2003.

In a separate set of messages sent to Ms Criado-Perez, John Nimmo, 25, told her “shut up bitch” and “Ya not that gd looking to rape u be fine” followed by “I will find you (smiley face)” and then the message “rape her nice ass”, the court was told.