Neo-Nazi given two-year sentence for 'vile antisemitic abuse' of Labour MP Luciana Berger

Ms Berger told jurors online abuse does not always stay online — a truth illustrated by the tragic death of her fellow MP Jo Cox

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 08 December 2016 16:03 GMT
Luciana Berger's plea to other victims as racist troll is convicted of harassment

A neo-Nazi internet troll has been given the maximum sentence of two years for harassing Labour MP Luciana Berger in a string of anti-Jewish rants.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine wrote five hate-filled blogs about the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree in support of the jailed far-right extremist Garron Helm.

A jury at the Old Bailey found Bonehill-Paine guilty of racially aggravated harassment on Wednesday.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 23, claimed Labour MP Luciana Berger was responsible for Jesus's death (social media)

The court heard he has a history of online abuse leaving a trail of devastation in the lives of those he chose to "pick a dispute" with.

While he was posting abusive blogs about Ms Berger, Bonehill-Paine was on bail awaiting sentence for making false claims on Twitter that several people were paedophiles.

And while on police bail over the blogs, he stirred up racial hatred in a flyer for a neo-Nazi rally in Golders Green, north London.

He was jailed for three years and four months last December for the ad, which was illustrated with a picture of Nazi death camp Auschwitz which promised "an absolute gas".

Labour MP Luciana Berger speaks outside the Old Bailey after Joshua Bonehill-Paine was found guilty of harassing her (PA)

Sentencing, Mr Justice Spencer told the defendant he had "amassed a formidable record of hate crime" at the age of just 24.

He told Bonehill-Paine he was responsible for a "cruel campaign of vile racist abuse" on his "obnoxious" online newspaper.

The judge described Ms Berger's evidence in court as "restrained" and "dignified".

She told jurors that online abuse does not always stay online — a truth illustrated by the tragic death of her fellow MP Jo Cox, the judge said.

He told Bonehill-Paine: "This was gravely oppressive racially aggravated harassment of the worst kind."

The judge also imposed a criminal behaviour order, which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail, to curb his internet activities.

Under the order, he is barred from contacting Ms Berger, her former assistant and other named individuals upon his release. The order also gives officers the power to monitor his online activities for the next five years.

Additional reporting by PA

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