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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£30,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a perso...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Manager

£55,000 - £65,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accountant with ...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

£45,000 - £55,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified accountant...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor