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January 24, 2014updated 26 Jan 2014 2:42pm

Twitter troll assaulted police officer while awaiting trial for Criado-Perez attack, court told

By Darren Boyle

A female Twitter troll who abused journalist Caroline Criado-Perez assaulted a police officer while on bail awaiting trial, a court has heard.

Isabella Sorley was one of two individuals convicted of threatening Criado-Perez on the social networking site.

Appearing in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Sorley was jailed for 12 weeks. Her co-accused John Nimmo , 25, received an eight-week jail term.

Nimmo and Sorley were also ordered to pay £400 compensation each to Criado-Perez and Labour MP Stella Creasy, who they also abused.

Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle told both defendants: “From April to July last year Caroline Criado-Perez led an ultimately successful campaign  to ensure that a female figure appears on a Bank of England note. Following the success of her campaign (by the announcement by the Bank that Jane Austin would appear on a bank note) she was congratulated publicly by, among others, Stella Creasy MP.”

The court heard that Sorley sent the following abusive tweets: “F*** off and die…you should have jumped in front of horses, go die; I will find you and you don’t want to know what I will do when I do… kill yourself before I do; rape is the last of your worries; I’ve just got out of prison and would happily do more time to see you berried; seriously go kill yourself! I will get less time for that; rape?! I’d do a lot worse things than rape you.”

Nimmo threatened Criado-Perez with the following tweets: “Ya not that gd looking to rape u be fine; I will find you; come to geordieland (Newcastle) bitch; just think it could be somebody that knows you personally; the police will do nothing; rape her nice ass; could I help with that lol; the things I cud do to u; dumb blond bitch.”

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Riddle said: “Caroline Criado-Perez made a victim statement dated 6th January 2014. I am told she is content that I should read her statement rather than hear from her in person. That is entirely understandable.

“She describes how the effects of the harassment she has received have been life-changing. Her personality has changed long-term. She describes panic and fear and horror. She feared the abusers would find her and carry out the threats. She felt hunted. She remembers feeling terror every time the doorbell rang.

“She has had to spend substantial time and money ensuring she is as untrackable as possible. She gives a detailed and personal account of the physical effects of the fear on her. The emails from Sorley and Nimmo (she says) are imprinted on her mind – ‘I don’t think I will ever be free of them’.

“It is a moving, detailed, and entirely understandable account of the effect of these crimes on her.

“These offences have caused serious and entirely predictable harm to her.

"The effect on Stella Creasy has also been substantial. She became concerned for her safety to the extent that she had to alter her behaviour. She had a panic button installed in her home. She describes the effect of the crimes on her public duties, on her staff, and on her family. Again the offences have caused serious and entirely predictable harm to her.”

Riddle told Sorley and Nimmo that the maximum sentence available to him was six months imprisonment.  

He said there had been several aggravating factors in both cases, including the use of extreme language and threats were used.

Sentencing Sorley, Riddle said: “You are not a first-time offender. You have 25 offences recorded against you since November 2010. The majority of those are for being drunk and disorderly.

“Although this is not an imprisonable offence, the effect of such persistent disorderly behaviour should not be minimized. While on bail for this offence you committed two offences of assaulting a police officer. For those offences you were recently made a subject of a community order.

“You are also awaiting sentence after pleading guilty to another assault on New Year’s Day.

“The current offence was committed within hours of an appearance at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court, on 29 July 2010.”

The court heard that Sorley has a upper second class honours degree in creative advertising.

Riddle said he had considered suspending both sentences however due to the serious nature of the threats involved, he said this would be inappropriate.

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