Rachel Riley and Chris Martin cyber troll sectioned and handed restraining order for death threats

Anthony Wells' 8-month campaign included graphic sexual references aimed at the former Strictly Come Dancing contestant

A man who sent more than 500 abusive messages including death threats to the Countdown presenter Rachel Riley has been given a restraining order.

Anthony Wells, 31, was told by Basildon Crown Court that he could not contact Riley directly or indirectly for five years after admitting to a charge of harassment against the former Strictly Come Dancing contestant.

The court was also told how Wells had tried to communicate with the Coldplay frontman Chris Martin by sending messages that threatened the lives of the singer's children. However, this was not pursued.

Along with his restraining order, Wells was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after it was found that he had been suffering from bouts of paranoid schizophrenia and many of his tweets had been influenced by “psychotic thinking.”

Sentencing Wells, Judge Davies QC said: “You’re currently in hospital and for the moment that is the right place for you to be. I am going to make a Section 37 hospital order under the Mental Health Act.

“That is an order requiring you to remain in hospital until authorities require otherwise.”

The eight-month trolling campaign against Riley began in October 2012, just months after she had married her now ex-husband Jamie Gilbert.

During that period Wells sent countless disturbing messages to Riley’s Twitter page, including threats to her life and a number of graphic sexual references.

In one particularly alarming message, Wells wrote: “I hope you die forever, I hope you cry forever, I hope you die now. I hope your eyes bleed and your skin dries and your dream dies.

“I hope you fall to the earth like a child lost at birth …

“Dedicated once again to Rachel Annabelle Riley …”

In another sickening post, Wells said that the key to seducing women was “good thermals, good masks, and plenty of duct tape.”

He also accused Riley of paedophilia and posted that she was dying of cancer.

Speaking in court, prosecutor Jamie Sawyer said:  “Effectively what he did was send a persistent series of abusive Twitter messages.

“Around 500 tweets were sent during the time of the indictment. The nature of these messages was always abusive.

“The messages sent to Rachel Riley of course caused her distress. Her personal statement (which was not read out) gives a graphic description of her reaction to the tweets.”

Despite finding evidence of similar messages directed at Coldplay singer Chris Martin, it was decided that harassment charges would not be pursued but instead kept on file.

Punam Malhan, CPS East of England senior district prosecutor said: 'Mr Martin indicated that a plea to the charge involving Ms Riley would be acceptable to ensure that Mr Wells gets the medical help he needs and that he was content for us to not to proceed in relation to the remaining charge.

"Taking Mr Martin’s view into account we decided it was no longer in the public interest to continue with the second charge of harassment and that charge was today left on file.”

Speaking in court, Eleanor Scott, defending, said Wells was still in a “mentally fragile state” but he had pleaded guilty to the charges of harassment against Riley and was “happy to abide by a restraining order.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum