A man has been jailed for 18 weeks for bombarding a Labour MP with abusive tweets after she supported a successful campaign to put the image of Jane Austen on the £10 note.
Peter Nunn, 33, from Bristol, retweeted menacing posts threatening to rape Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, and branding her a witch.
He launched what the prosecution called his “campaign of hatred” last summer after the Labour politician backed a high-profile drive by the feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez to keep a woman on a British banknote.
The district judge Elizabeth Roscoe found Nunn guilty of sending indecent, obscene or menacing messages following a trial at City of London magistrates court this month, and jailed him on Monday.
She also imposed a restraining order banning him from any contact with Creasy or Criado-Perez. Nunn showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.
So what exactly does it take for Twitter to step up to the mark on abuse? This guy has been jailed for 18 months— deservedly.
The prosecutor Alison Morgan said the messages had a “substantial” effect on Creasy, who felt “increasing concern that individuals were seeking not only to cause her distress but also to cause her real harm which led her to fear for her own safety”.
She said Creasy had felt the need to install a panic button in her home, and the incident had altered the way the MP interacted with people and made her more cautious.
Morgan said Criado-Perez’s statement described the “fear and horror” she had felt, which led to physical symptoms such as dizzy spells.
Nunn, who the court heard has ambitions to study for a law degree, claimed he sent the messages to exercise his right to freedom of speech and to “satirise” the issue of online trolling.
Just disgusting— but it’s only one example of the misogynistic abuse levelled at women everyday on the internet and elsewhere. It’s also just one more example of how harrassers and stalkers exploit twitter. What will it take for twitter to take more proactive action?