Woman becomes first person to be jailed for 'trolling herself'

Michelle Chapman is thought be the first person to be prosecuted in the UK for sending herself abusive messages using bogus Facebook profiles

Maria Tadeo
Wednesday 05 February 2014 18:59
Michelle Chapman has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for setting up fake Facebook profiles to send herself offensive messages
Michelle Chapman has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for setting up fake Facebook profiles to send herself offensive messages

A woman who used fake Facebook profiles to send herself hundreds of abusive messages has been jailed for 20 months.

Michelle Chapman, from Cornwall, is thought to be the first person in the UK to have been prosecuted for "trolling" herself.

Chapman set up fake accounts in the name of her father and new stepmother; sending herself hundreds of abusive messages of 'very unpleasant sexual nature' before reporting them to the police, court heard.

She was cautioned for a similar offence back in 2009- yet police still took her allegations seriously.

Her father, Roy Jackson, and stepmother, Louise, were arrested and given a warning as a result. Her year-long campaign only came to an end after forensic Internet inquiries revealed both accounts had been created at her own address.

Prosecutor Philip Lee said Chapman "wanted to make their life hell" and sought "revenge on her father for matters in the past".

She fell out with her in-laws after attempting a reunion with his father, whom she had not seen for 21 years. But there was an altercation and she became "upset".

Chapman began her revenge by setting up a fake account for her new stepmother to send offensive messages to her father in a desperate attempt to break them up. She then spent a year "trolling" herself online.

She admitted doing actions tending or intended to pervert the course of justice by sending herself degrading e-mails between February 2011 and March 2012, at an earlier hearing.

Her lawyer, Martin Pearce, said she suffered from mental health problems and wishes "she had not done it".

Sentencing her to 20 months in prison, Judge Harvey Clark said: "People have suffered a great deal of distress as a result of your wicked behaviour."

Her husband, Glyn Chapman, said his wife was crying for help.

He added: "She is the victim, she has mental health issues and it was a cry for help. She has not had the help she needs.

"This is what you do when you're in desperate, desperate need of help - you scream out."

Chapman has been given a restraining order and her computer was confiscated.

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