A SOUTH Tyneside man is facing jail after subjecting a high-profile feminist campaigner and an MP to a series of “menacing” Twitter messages.
John Nimmo, 25, of Moreland Road, South Shields, sent Caroline Criado-Perez and MP Stella Creasy a series of abusive and insulting messages.
Nimmo, described as a “social recluse”, admitted sending “menacing” tweets when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, yesterday.
District Judge Howard Riddle adjourned the case for reports, but warned Nimmo that “all options” as to sentencing remained open.
The court heard that Nimmo subjected Ms Criado-Perez to a series of “menacing” Twitter messages over a campaign to ensure a woman featured on British bank notes.
Nimmo told Ms Criado-Perez – a 29-year-old student – to “shut up *****” and sent insults mentioning rape, the court was told.
He also targeted Ms Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, with the message “The things I cud do to u (smiley face)”.”
Nimmo appeared in court with Isabella Sorley, 23, of Akenside House, Akenside Hill, Newcastle.
The court heard Sorley sent Ms Criado-Perez abusive messages, including one saying “go kill yourself”.
Both pleaded guilty to sending “menacing” tweets.
Paul Kennedy, representing Nimmo, described him as a “somewhat sad individual” with “some level of learning difficulties”, who had suffered bullying at school.
“He is a social recluse, that is exactly what he is really, he rarely leaves the house but to empty the bins,” he said.
“He sits in the house 24/7. He has nothing to do. He claims benefits. He is a somewhat sad individual.”
Alison Morgan, prosecuting, said Ms Criado-Perez had received abusive messages “of one type or another” from 86 Twitter accounts, including those accounts attributed to both Nimmo and Sorley.
She said: “Caroline Criado-Perez has suffered life-changing psychological effects from the abuse which she received on Twitter.
“In particular, the menacing nature of the tweets sent by both defendants caused her significant fear that they would find her and carry out their threats.”.
She added that Ms Creasy had also suffered a “substantial impact”. Ms Morgan said the “extreme language” used by Nimmo and Sorley had caused “substantial distress or fear”.
She said Ms Criado-Perez had described the tweets sent to her by Sorley as “horrifying and frightening”.
The tweets sent by Nimmo were “menacing” to Ms Criado-Perez in their reference to rape, his message that the “police will do nothing”, the suggestion that she knew him and the threat that he would “come and find” her, she said.
“It is alleged that in July of 2013 both these defendants sent menacing messages via Twitter to the feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez and also to Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow,” Ms Morgan said, opening the case.
“The background to these events was that, prior to July of 2013, Caroline Criado-Perez led a campaign to ensure that a female figure appeared on a Bank of England note.
Her campaign was conducted in a number of ways including using social media.
“The campaign was eventually successful in that on July 24, 2013 the Bank of England announced that Jane Austen would appear on a bank note in the future.”
She said that following this announcement, Ms Criado-Perez had appeared widely in the media and had been congratulated publicly by a number of high-profile figures on Twitter, including Ms Creasy.
In the aftermath of this publicity, a “significant” number of offensive tweets were received into Ms Criado-Perez’s Twitter account from “many” Twitter users.
Nimmo, who was described in court as of “previous good character” was released on conditional bail.
Sorley, whose previous convictions include being drunk and disorderly on 21 occasions, was remanded in custody.
She was warned by District Judge Howard Riddle that it was “almost inevitable” that she would receive a jail sentence.
He warned Nimmo that “all options” as to sentencing remain open.
The pair are due to be sentenced on January 24.