South Shields school death threat troll is back behind bars

Reece Elliott.
Reece Elliott.

A Facebook "troll" who was jailed over threats to shoot American schoolchildren is back behind bars for a cruel social media scam he hoped would let him "retire early".

Reece Elliott, 29, was given over two years in prison in 2013 after his online death threats led to 3,000 children being kept away from classes in Warren County, Tennessee, USA, and schools put on lock down while the FBI investigated.

After his release, he started up a fraud in 2015 where he advertised, via bogus Facebook profiles, designer trainers and branded clothing at knock-down prices but gave buyers nothing in return for their cash.

Elliott, who lived "above his means" in a home filled with "high value, cash purchased goods", boasted he was "making £1,200 per hour" in the con, which left over 125 social media users out of pocket.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when customers complained and asked why they had not received the goods they paid for, Elliott taunted and blocked them.

He told one customer: "Haha, I'm raking in the money off you, clown. Why on earth would I need a job when there's morons like you falling for" this.

Elliott, who used fake profile names and used other people's bank accounts for the cash to be paid into, bragged that those he was ripping off would "never trace him" and branded them "scum".

His phone messages showed that when his girlfriend complained about his behaviour, Elliott's response was to ask where she thought the money for "Sunday dinners" came from and he told her "until a legit job comes along, i will scam".

He also said "I want to retire early".

Police traced 10 victims of the Facebook frauds but Elliott himself confessed there were "far more victims".

In a separate, similar internet scam, Elliott advertised that he could offer fake, or clean up, driving licences for customers.

Prosecutor Rupert Doswell the court: "He said for £100 per point he would be able to produce driving licences showing no such points."

The court heard it is unclear who many victims fell foul to the DVLA fraud.

Mr Doswell said: "They were knowingly committing a criminal act so they were not going to report the matter to the police."

The court heard Elliott had charged £1,200 for a full fake licence or £100 per point for point removal.

During one text conversation with a pal he had bragged "still doing the DVLA lol" and added "morons left right and centre, falling for it".

Elliott, of Fossway, South Shields, admitted conspiracy to defraud and fraud.

Mr recorder Keith Miller has now sentenced him to 22 months behind bars.

The judge told him: "These were sophisticated fraud offences and you brought others into it, using their bank accounts.

"There were a large number of victims."

John Wilkinson, defending, said Elliott, who cares for his younger brother who has health difficulties, is "an intelligent young man" who had personal problems at the time.

Mr Wilkinson added: "If he could put his undoubted talents in the right and

legitimate direction he could have a very bright future."

In 2013, self-confessed internet "troll" Elliott had claimed on Facebook he was about to murder his own father before driving to a US school to slay "at least 200" pupils and then turn his gun on himself.

The FBI and Homeland security was brought in to investigate as terror spread across the American county, which a judge said was the result of Elliott's "self indulgent nastiness".

Elliott had said on one public post: "My father has three guns.

"I'm planning on killing him first and putting his body in the dumpster.

"Then I'm driving to the school. I'm going in fast. Hopefully it will be at least 200 before I kill myself."

It was when US media coverage into the threats intensified, Elliott handed himself into the police.

He confessed at the time he was a "troller" who posted offensive messages in a bid to provoke a reaction and row.