Caroline Criado-Perez Tweets – 2 plead guilty

Caroline Criado-Perez Tweets – 2 plead guilty

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Introduction and Facts
Last year there was a campaign to ensure that at least one woman (other than the Queen) on English and welsh banknotes. This was lead by Caroline Criado-Perez and arose after social reformer (and prison reform activist) Elizabeth Fry lost her place on the back of a £5 note to Winston Churchill.

This campaign was successful and the Bank of England announced that Charles Darwin would be replaced by Jane Austen on the £10 note.

For reasons that are unclear, this triggered a large helping of vitriol and bile directed primarily at Ms Criado-Perez (other people, most notably Stella Creasy, were also targeted).

Some or these were unpleasant and offensive, but others appeared to go further which lead to various arrests. Two people, John Nimmo (25) and Isabella Sorley (23) were charged as a result (it is understood that these two people didn’t know each other).

On 8th January 2014 both pleaded guilty to an offence under the Communications Act.

The sentence was adjourned until 24th January.

What was said – why is it illegal?
For an overview of the offence, see our fact sheet here. The CPS have given guidance as to when they are likely to prosecute, which should also be borne in mind.

In this case it was reported by the BBC that Mr Nimmo had sent 20 tweets to one of the women (believed to be Criado-Perez and four tweets to the other (believed to be Ms Creasy), using six separate Twitter accounts.

Ms Sorley had set up three anonymous Twitter accounts and sent six tweets to Ms Criado-Perez.

An example of the sort of messages that were sent can be seen from the BBC report : “The court heard that one tweet from Sorley started with an expletive and continued: “Die you worthless piece of crap.” She was also told to “go kill yourself”.

And from Mr Nimmo “In a separate set of abusive messages Nimmo told Ms Criado-Perez to “shut up” and made references to rape followed by “I will find you (smiley face)”.

What will the sentence be?
Both defendants had their cases adjourned for a pre-sentence report. Ms Soley was told that, due to the nature of the messages, and the fact that she had numerous previous convictions, custody would be inevitable. She has been remanded in custody so it may be that by the time that she is sentenced she has already served her sentence.

Mr Nimmo is of previous good character (he has never been in trouble before) and therefore he is a more likely candidate for a non-custodial sentence. We will return when they are both sentenced on 24th of this month.

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I’m pleased for Caroline that the judge, in passing sentence, paid due regard to the impact of the actions of the guilty parties on their victim.

  2. Following is a quote from Caroline Criado-Perez talking about some of the threats made to her… “I remember the man who told me I’d never track him down, only feel his cock while he was raping me; the man who told me he would pistol-whip me over and over until I lost consciousness, while my children watched, and then burn my flesh; the man who told me he had a sniper rifle aimed directly at my head and did I have any last words… the man who told me to place both my hands on his cock and stroke it till he came on my eyeballs or he would slit my throat; the man who told me I would be dead and gone that night, and that I should kiss my pussy goodbye, as a group of them would “break it irreparably”; the man who told me a group of them would mutilate my genitals with scissors and set my house on file while I begged to die. I can see their words on the screen. I remember where I was when I got them. I remember the fear, the horror, the despair. I remember feeling sick. I remember not being able to sleep, I remember thinking it would never end…”

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