Madeleine McCann: Brenda Leyland Is Monstered By Trolls
BY now you’ve have heard of Brenda Leyland. She’s an alleged ‘troll’ – someone who says things online. Lots of people say nasty things online, but the police don’t go after them all. Not all make it to the TV news or the front pages. Just some.
What she, allegedly, tweeted about the McCanns is unpleasant. But what are people saying about her?
A churchgoing mother of two children has been uncovered as one of the internet “trolls” who bombarded the family of Madeleine McCann with vile abuse. Brenda Leyland, 63, who lives in a picturesque village in Leicestershire, 15 miles from where Kate and Gerry McCann live with their two children, posted dozens of offensive messages about them.
Mrs Leyland, who attended Goldsmiths college at London University, was part of a group of hate-fuelled critics of the McCanns who believe – despite no evidence – that the McCanns had some involvement in the disappearance of their daughter in Portugal in 2007.
What things did she say?
Using the Twitter handle Sweepyface, Mrs Leyland called for the McCanns to suffer “for the rest of their miserable lives”.
And? No further examples are provided. But given the sort of thing that escapes censure online (calls for Emma West to be raped, “Let’s hunt Liam Stacey down”; Josie Cunnigham should be shot; and more) what we see there seems pretty mild.
When confronted about her Twitter comments, Mrs Leyland said: “I’m entitled to do what I want.”
Within the bounds of the law, yes, you can say what you like.
Friends of Mrs Leyland in the sleepy village of Burton Overy said that she was “very nice”. One said: “She is an educated and intelligent woman. She shouldn’t be doing things like that. She should know better. I think she is retired and she is always very chatty when I see her. She seems nice.”
Another said: “She’s a lovely woman and a very good friend. She’s a regular churchgoer.”
The Mail adds:
Well-spoken middle-class woman is unmasked as online troll who now faces arrest after sending hate messages to parents of Madeleine McCann
Unmasked, like Jihadi John or a master criminal.
…when Mr Brunt told her that she had been reported to police, and that Scotland Yard was considering a dossier of Twitter accounts said to show a ‘campaign of abuse’ against the McCanns, she paused as she got into a 4×4 and replied: ‘That’s fair enough.’
She seems reasonable. Cool, even. But that car’s planet killer. Tsk!
The crime correspondent said he was later invited into Mrs Leyland’s house, where she told him she ‘had questions for the McCanns’ but ‘hoped she hadn’t broken the law’ by posting tweets in which she spread rumours about the McCanns’ marriage, and said she hoped they would suffer for ever.
What law could she have broken with that aforesaid tweet?
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said today: ‘We can confirm we have received a letter and documentation on 9 September which was passed to officers from Operation Grange [the police review into Madeleine’s disappearance].
‘They are assessing its contents and consulting with the CPS and the McCann family.’
Detective Inspector Michael Kilkenny of the Metropolitan Police told the campaign group: ‘In consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and the McCann family, the material will now be assessed and decisions made as to what further action, if any, should be undertaken.’
Meanwhile… Online all is nasty:
An innocent child is missing. And the trolls continue to hold sway…