Brenda Leyland dead: Martin Brunt and Sky News face online backlash following death of Madeleine McCann parents' 'troll'

Brenda Leyland was found dead at a Leicestershire hotel on Saturday

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The Independent Online

Sky News is facing an online backlash following the death of a woman accused of being an internet troll.

Brenda Leyland, 63, was identified as one of a number of "trolls" posting abusive messages aimed at Gerry and Kate McCann, whose daughter went missing in Portugal in 2007.

Mrs Leyland was found dead in a Leicestershire hotel on Saturday. Police have said the death is not being treated as suspicious and the circumstances surrounding her death were being investigated.

Last week Mrs Leyland was tracked down to her home in Burton Overy, Leicestershire, by Sky News and confronted by reporter Martin Brunt about her online activities.

Brunt asked Mrs Leyland why she was using a Twitter account to attack the McCanns, to which she replied: "I'm entitled to do that."

The encounter was shown on Thursday last week and the next day it was reported she had left the village.

Some Twitter users have now criticised Sky News for the report.

One Twitter user wrote: "Abhorrent hounding of a Woman who's mental strength was obviously unimportant to you. Shame on @Skynews @skymartinbrunt RIP #BrendaLeyland".

A Sky spokesman today told The Independent: "We were saddened to hear of the death of Brenda Leyland. It would be inappropriate to speculate or comment further at this time."

A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: "Officers were called at 1.42pm on Saturday October 4 following a report of Brenda Leyland being found deceased at a hotel room in Smith Way, Grove Park.

"Ms Leyland’s death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the Coroner.

"Officers acting on behalf of the Coroner will look into the circumstances surrounding and prior to her unexpected death."

Additional reporting by Press Association