Man jailed for memorial abuse posts
A man who posted abusive images to online memorials dedicated to dead children was today jailed for 18 weeks.
Sean Duffy, 25, was also banned from using social networking sites for five years after admitting posting images on Facebook and YouTube mocking the deaths of four children, including 15-year-old Natasha MacBryde, who committed suicide.
Reading Magistrates' Court heard that Duffy, of Grovelands Road, Reading, posted a video on YouTube called Tasha the Tank Engine days after the teenager was found dead on a railway line near her home in Worcestershire.
The court was also told that Duffy had produced similar abusive images of Hayley Bates, Lauren Drew and Jordan Cooper.
Paul Warren, chairman of the magistrates' bench, said: "This case serves to illustrate the harm and damage done by the malicious misuse of social networking sites."
Duffy, who the court heard suffers with alcohol problems and has Asperger's syndrome, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Malicious Communications Act in relation to Natasha.
He asked for three further offences to be taken into consideration relating to the other youngsters.
Outside court, Lauren's father Mark Drew said: "Lauren didn't deserve this. Seeing him in court was really hard. I was so angry.
"Lauren was my only daughter and I worshipped the ground she walked on.
"This person hid behind the computer screen with no feeling."
He said Facebook should be doing more to prevent the website being misused, adding that it was "a wonderful thing if used right".
Sherry Adhami, of the charity Beatbullying, said: "Today's ruling is a monumental move towards bullying and cyberbullying being taken more seriously and sends a strong message to society that bullying, whether online or offline, is not going to be tolerated - it's time that stopping bullying at the source is placed higher on the Government's agenda."
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