Criado-Perez Twitter Abusers Plead Guilty

Two people have pleaded guilty to sending abusive messages to journalist and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.

Isabella Sorley and John Nimmo admitted to the crimes at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday and are now due for sentencing on 24 January. The judge, Howard Riddle, said it is “almost inevitable” that Sorley, who has 21 previous convictions for being drunk and disorderly, will get a jail sentence .

Criado-Perez received a significant number of abusive tweets after her campaign to get a woman on the £10 bank note was successful, with Jane Austen selected.

Criado-Perez: Not a joyful day

Abusive tweets from Sorley included “die you worthless piece of crap” and “go kill yourself”.

Criado-Perez said she was “hugely relieved” at the decision, but said it was “not a joyful day”.

“These two abusers reflect a small drop in the ocean, both in terms of the amount of abuse I received across July and August, but also in terms of the abuse that other women receive online – women who have little to no recourse to justice,” she said.

“However, I hope that for some people who are watching, this conviction will be a warning: online abuse is not consequence-free. I hope that some people watching will think twice before abusing someone else. There is not much else I can say given there are other cases still on-going.”

The court heard that Nimmo also targeted Labour MP Stella Creasy, calling her a “dumb blonde”, amongst more offensive messages.

Nimmo’s identity was uncovered by a Newsnight producer, who later passed on the details to the Northumbria police. He was then arrested on 30 July. Sorley was apprehended in October after law enforcement tracked her down.

In response to the burst of offensive messages over the summer, Twitter introduced further protections, making it easier to report those breaking the rules.

A separate prosecution of another person alleged to have sent abusive messages to Criado-Perez was deemed not in the public interest by the Crown Prosecution Service, according to the BBC.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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