Facebook troll jailed for posting he was 'glad' teacher was murdered

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured, Law & order

Facebook comment. Image courtesy of ShutterstockA Facebook troll who posted disgusting messages about the classroom killing of a much-loved UK teacher, Ann Maguire, has been jailed for six weeks.

Ms. Maguire, who was 61 at the time of her death and mere months away from retirement, was stabbed at Corpus Christi college in Leeds, West Yorkshire, on 28 April.

Three days later, Jake Newsome, 21, wrote that the 15-year-old boy accused of murdering her "should have p***** on her too".

His post:

personally im glad that teacher got stabbed up, feel sorry for the kid... he shoulda p***** on her too

The Guardian reports that Newsome, from Leeds, pleaded guilty at the city's magistrates court last month to sending an offensive message.

He was jailed when he appeared before a district judge on Wednesday.

Newsome had admitted to officers that he put the message on the site, but he claimed that he didn't think it was offensive.

According to the Daily Mail, Newsome's attorney, Ann Glen, told the court at an earlier hearing that Newsome empathised with the alleged murderer:

He felt that there were some similarities as to what people were saying about the young man and the background that this defendant has.

She also said that her client had no previous convictions and he understood he would "reap the consequences, realising that he had offended members of the public".

US readers who aren't familiar with other countries' laws regarding freedom of expression might be taken aback by Newsome's imprisonment.

UK citizens have the right to freedom of expression under common law, but there's a long list of exceptions to that right, among which are threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour meant to harass, alarm or distress others.

What you post on social media can come back to haunt you.

In many countries, that haunting may involve jail time - a good thing for would-be trolls to remember.

Images of Facebook comment and jail bars courtesy of Shutterstock.

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10 Responses to Facebook troll jailed for posting he was 'glad' teacher was murdered

  1. AP · 491 days ago

    In the US, would he have been protected by the 1st amendment?

  2. Lisa - protection in the UK used to be common law but it is now Human Rights Act 1998 which makes the European human rights convention into law for the UK.

    Article ten of the convention gives us the right of 'freedom of expression.' The UK government shouldn't make a law that breaches the convention. But this is a 'qualified' or limited right so the government can make laws to control expression, for specific purposes. It is not like you have in the USA with your constitution.

    Whether this guy deserves criminal prosecution - or just contempt - is open to debate.

  3. Anonymous · 490 days ago

    Flog the troll.

  4. Barbara · 490 days ago

    I can't believe this person did not know that his comment would be considered offense. I don't agree with this law, but he had to know he was breaking it.

    • If a person does not know that is breaking the law, because of age that makes him incapable to understand his/her actions (and is expressing his opinion without intent to push further hatred), and is not comitting any threat for other's life or is not pushing extensive violence, shouldn't be declared guilty. The court has to understand the reasons originating these expressions (probably suggest SocialServices for further examination because hate, expressed verbally or not is a consequence of different factors and prision is not the cure, but if leaved in that form then it can be a motivation for future violence acts). Diffence played a weak presentation! Anyway, I don't live in UK, so I can't understand the contest of the law there.

      • Stace · 487 days ago

        Sorry in the US ignorance of the law is not bliss. Plus he knew exactly what he was saying would annoy or offend and I'm not saying he or anyone isn't allowed to express an opinion, but depending on who you are directing that comment to or where you are going to post it, there can be consequences. Do I feel bad for him or the kid who killed the teacher; not in the least. They both knew what they were doing.

  5. Stace · 487 days ago

    I'm sorry I should add that yes I know this case isn't in the US. I'm just saying whether he knew the law or not, he shouldn't be so careless where he issues offending comments.

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.