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Twitter rape threats land UK pair in jail

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London 2012 Olympics police car stock
London 2012 Olympics police car stock

A British man and woman who sent abusive tweets have been jailed. 25-year-old John Nimmo and 23-year-old Isabella Sorley both pleaded guilty to the offence of "improper use of a public electronic communications network" earlier this month after being charged last month. Both have been sentenced to jail time this week. The pair took to Twitter to send abusive tweets following the Bank of England’s decision to put novelist Jane Austen on a £10 note. Journalist and activist Caroline Criado-Perez led a successful campaign to get more women on British currency, and faced up to 50 abusive and threatening tweets per hour as a result.

"I will find you."

Nimmo, sentenced to eight weeks in jail, admitted to posting 20 tweets using five different accounts. Some of the abuse, directed at Criado-Perez and Labour politician Stella Creasy, included threats like "rape her nice ass" and "I will find you," alongside insults like "dumb blond bitch." Sorley, sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, also admitted to posting 16 tweets related to the new £10 note. "Seriously go kill yourself! I will get less time for that," read one, while another said "I’d do a lot worse things than rape you."

While the case serves as a warning to Twitter users sending abuse on the social network, many called on Twitter to make it easier to report abusive messages on the service following the incident last July. Twitter responded acknowledging the issue of threatening tweets, and updated its apps and website to allow users to report individual tweets for abuse or spam.