Police investigate Twitter bomb threats against female journalists including The Independent's Grace Dent and The Guardian's Hadley Freeman

Columnists among those told 'a bomb has been placed outside your home' as police advise them to think about moving while they investigate 

Calls to clamp down on internet abuse sent over social networking sites intensified after a string of leading female journalists and columnists were sent hoax bomb threats on Twitter.

The Independent’s Grace Dent, Hadley Freeman of The Guardian, Emma Barnett of The Daily Telegraph and Catherine Mayer of TIME magazine were among those told that explosives would be detonated at their homes at 10.47pm on Wednesday, “destroying everything”.

Police advised the writers to think about moving out for the evening while the threats made by anonymous posters on Twitter, using a jumble of letters and numbers as usernames, were investigated. The accounts have since been suspended.

The threats came as the police investigate death and rape threats sent via Twitter to the campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who had lobbied for women to be represented on banknotes, and the Walthamstow Labour MP Stella Creasy. Two men have been arrested and bailed in connection with those threats while inquiries continue.

Twitter has been urged by more than 100,000 petition signatories to install a “report abuse” button – making it faster for threats to be investigated and users to be banned.

But some victims fear that regular complaints could overwhelm the system with police unable to track down every user keying in abuse.

Ms Barnett, The Telegraph’s women’s editor, and a radio presenter on London station LBC, wrote that she had gone to the pub instead of taking the threat too seriously. She said: “Despite this tweeter having committed a crime under the Malicious Communications Act – therefore making the police compelled to act – I understand that behind the scenes, the British police force are terrified that we will get to a situation in this country where they will need to investigate every tweet – which they just can’t physically do. Threatening to bomb someone’s house and destroy everything is foul. It shouldn’t be happening. But it is.”

Ms Freeman called the police after she saw the threat. She said: “If it’s illegal to threaten to bomb an airport, it’s illegal to threaten to bomb me.”

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Ms Mayer added that she too had called the police but felt less concerned after 10.47pm had passed. She said officers had checked over her home and the targets of the threats had been told that they “may wish to think about moving out for the night”.

Ms Creasy said: “Let’s be very clear – it’s not for us to change our behaviour: it’s for them to stop doing this. It’s harassment. It’s a very old form of crime, particularly when it’s targeted in the way that we’ve had, which is about harassment and hatred of women. It’s just taking a new form online.”

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories