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Unmasking and death of a notorious British ‘Twitter troll’ sharpens focus on trial-by-Twitter

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posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 03:47 PM
Apparently the McCanns, the parents of missing Madeleine, have been having some issues with Twitter trolls and the Scotland Yard had been passed a dossier on them for potential legal pursuit as some of the abusive tweets have been the equivalent of death threats. On Thursday, Sky News went to go interview one of these so-called "Twitter trolls" and asked her about her feelings on this new development and here's that interview:

Days later, after a public backlash caused by the Sky report, she was found dead at a Marriott hotel fewer than 20 miles from her house. The circumstances of her death aren’t clear, and a coroner told the BBC her “death is not being treated as suspicious.” em-of-trial-by-twitter/

I find this story to be very interesting as I've long thought that most who make abusive comments towards others online are essentially being empowered by the guise of anonymity. While Leyland was timid and soft spoken in the interview, she definitely, at least to me, looked rattled by the thought of the comments she had made anonymously online being associated with who she was in reality. While some have, according to the Telegraph, requested a pubic inquiry and have taken to creating a facebook page in support of the deceased.

A Facebook group calling for justice for Brenda Leyland, 63, whose body was found in a hotel room in Leicestershire on Saturday, demanded a public enquiry and suggested she had been unfairly singled out by the media. html

Was she unfairly singled out? That's hard to say as apparently she was just one of many who had been making abusive tweets to the McCanns. According to the Sky News video, however, she did it daily. The observation that I have to make about this is that it is interesting to me that this woman felt empowered enough to speak her mind while anonymous but could not take similar sentiments being directed towards herself via the same medium.

Lastly, and this is the final takeaway, is this: do not ever think you are anonymous online. Sky News has just shown that you're not anonymous really and what you say and do can truly come back at you.

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:05 PM
a reply to: WhiteAlice

If she did it, and it can be proven, then why not call her our and "strip back" the guise of anonymity a computer screen falsely provides?

If she spent her time trolling people suffering the loss of a child (the conspiracy theories notwithstanding) as in, actively trying to made a bad situation worse and needlessly causing more grief - then I have no sympathy for her and this world is better off without her and people like her.

However, if she was innocent and was *wrongly* accused - then it's a terrible situation.

It does raise questions regarding the validity of the evidence. How do we know it was correct? Can SkyNews prove 100% she was the person in question on twitter? Do people do these sorts of things without 100% provable evidence? I would say no.

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:16 PM
a reply to: noonebutme

I'm not entirely sympathetic for the same reasons. If Sky News was, in fact, accurate in their identification of her (the account was closed after the interview), then in a sense, she basically received similar to what she had been participating in herself. If her response to the question of "Why are you using your Twitter account to attack the McCanns?" was "I am entitled to", then I suppose that her own rationale of being entitled to attack others online makes her also fair game as others surely are "entitled to" say whatever it is they want online.

Overall, there's no been no denial or query as to whether the Twitter account, @sweepyface, was hers or not. Even a more contemplative article by the Guardian where it questioned the usage of "troll" in describing Leyland, didn't deny that it was, in fact, her account.

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 04:53 PM
No way do I belive she comit suicide.
they found her at the hotel and killed her.

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 05:12 PM
Whatever the motive here, the police or perhaps ultimately the Crown Prosecution Service are going to have to think hard and long. The press have been doing this kind of character assassination for as long as I can remember, so often invented even.
Those of us in the UK will know since this year there is now an internet defamation law, and by default the defamation laws in general puts a limitation on free speech anyway. Thing is, I'm still out on the idea of internet snooping and portfolio building on people by lawyers and the like, the press get away with it in print or online, individuals are not so privileged it seems. This lady will not be prosecuted anyway, and probably wouldn't have been if the gist of all she said was that she did not wish the McCanns well, nasty as that can be.
That a TV station can come by and tell someone the cops may be after them, I have no words for, and even that's probably nothing new either.
edit on 6-10-2014 by smurfy because: Text.

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 05:43 PM
a reply to: WhiteAlice

The Mc canns didnt have a twitter account so she never said any thing to them or trolled them. How ever this woman was hounded by the press and if she died then Sky news are to blame. The last thing the Mc canns need or want is to appear in an English court because the chit would hit the fan then. They would have to explain why they did not answer all the police questions. When the police said to Ms Mc cann that withholding information and not answering their questions would hinder the search for their daughter. She replied so be it as if she didnt care about the search for her daughter. Thats a strange thing to say, any normal person would have helped the police in any way that they could. Plus there is the evidence of the police dogs who indicated trace of maddie in the hire car and also the scent of death in the room. Also the window had not been forced open and the only prints on the window were hers. To many things about this case stink to high heaven. Doctors who leave their children unattended while they go out for a meal and drinks.

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 06:40 PM
i,m going to say we have no idea what this woman was accused of saying but if it was just what illuminnaughty said about doctors leaving a kid alone and going out for a meal and no one seems to have a problem with that then we have a serious problem.

its a fact that anyone i know done that then it would be a charge of child neglect but i,ve never heard anything like that accused of them.

i feel for them what has happened but i also feel they have got away with a crime that 90% of people i know would be facing a charge for.

you go to a foreign country you do not leave your child alone to go out for a meal,its a pure and simple fact.

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 06:49 PM
a reply to: buddha

exactly what i think too.

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 09:14 PM
No guys, this is an extremely serious issue in so many ways, you could say that Sky News performed an online version of 'stalking' but freedom of the press advocates would say that is investigative in what they did, and in that ideal rightly so, you could also say that Brenda Leyland was also an online stalker in the tirades against the McCann family, but there is nothing given that she was threat to the far. Then there is the dossier, who gave that out, freedom of information or what? Thing is once again, IMHO we have the police, security services and media all walking down the same path when it suits, and it seems Brenda Leyland's online material deleted, I take it then all the other controversial stuff by others is also gone..isn't it?

posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 10:46 PM
The only thing she did is what is being done here every day as far as I can tell. She discussed a case that the media brought to the forfront of public spotlight, and expressed an opinion someone didn't like. That is not trolling, nor should it be illegal; nor should it result is some talking head ending up on your doorstep "unmasking" you.

To be clear, as far as I know, she made no threats, did nothing but post her opinions on an online forum. I am sure anyone here who doesn't post under their real name, would be a bit upset if some talking head ambushed you on your doorstep about a topic you commented on here eh?

I found this text archive

I read a bunch of it, but it is hurting my eyes now. Seriously though, those comments could easily been taken from a thread here. In case it wasn't obvious, read it bottom to top if you want it chronologically
edit on Mon, 06 Oct 2014 23:08:48 -0500 by TKDRL because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 12:40 AM
A lot of what she said online isn't "trolling" per sey, she's made a LOT of legitimate observations, many of which others have made.
She's absolutely entitled to state her opinions, whether they're incorrect or not isn't the issue.
She's called into question a number of inconsistencies as many do over many subjects, there's no reason that this should be any different.

If she was saying stuff like "Gerry McCann abused Maddie and violated her corpse before disposing of the body, Kate was an enabler," for example, then there'd be a problem.
All she had done was call out, and from what I read of her Tweets from the above link (kinda difficult to understand if you're not a Twitter user) she didn't "troll", she was just questioning.

When Twitter trolls go to town, they go to town with vile name calling, ethnic slurs and threats. This woman wasn't trolling, she was having an opinion.

However, the McCann's also stated that they don't read comments online and they have no online presence as they find it too upsetting so the notion they even KNEW of this woman, let alone got her "sorted out", is in my opinion, ridiculous and pointless.

Then we can choose to believe that or not, as we do with many things on this site


posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 01:48 AM
If you manage to get encrpyt a message and get it to someone in a third world country to relay your "troll" messages from a different computer far from where they received the instructions, then it's pretty secure.

Scotland Yard ain't gonna touch, say, Pakistan with a barge pole.

And it may not even be a true troll post, just a tactless observation or questions like the woman did.

posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 02:19 AM
The hotel bar fridge. Thats all I want to say.

posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 05:33 AM
Here are the tweets she sent and more information on the lady who died.
She like a lot of people dont believe the Mc canns story.
She even tweeted that if she died to ask questions about it ...
edit on 7-10-2014 by illuminnaughty because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 7 2014 @ 06:05 AM
Dr David Kelly's death wasn't suspicious either.

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