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‘Sadist’ internet troll admits posting ‘sick’ comments about dead people on Facebook

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A “sadist” internet troll has admitted posting offensive material on Facebook about young people who died.

Paul Hind, 38, called Olivia Burt, a Durham University student who died from head injuries outside a nightclub, a “sex worker” and “prostitute”.

He also doctored an image of Ms Burt and posted pictures of children who were “clearly terminally ill” on her Facebook page, South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court heard.

Hind, from Wark, Northumberland, admitted four separate offences of conveying false information which was indecent or grossly offensive in relation to four dead people.

Olivia Burt died from head injuries outside a nightclub in February. Pic: Facebook
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Olivia Burt died from head injuries outside a nightclub in February. Pic: Facebook

Ms Burt’s father, Nigel, said Hind’s actions were a “desecration” of his 20-year-old daughter’s memory.

Describing how Hind’s postings had made him and Ms Burt’s mother Paula feel “physically sick”, he said: “The person who carried out this trolling can only be described as a sick sadist who knows that they are adding to our anguish and gets enjoyment out of this.

“Even though the Facebook posts have now gone, we keep expecting them to reappear on some other social media platform.

“This is causing us continuing anxiety and distress.”

Duncan Sim's remains were found at West Sands in St Andrews earlier in 2018
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Duncan Sim’s remains were found at West Sands in St Andrews earlier in 2018

Mr Burt added: “We would also like to say that our dealings with Facebook have compounded our misery.”

He said the social media giant only tackles individual posts and not “overall trolling”, describing this method as “hopeless”.

As well as Ms Burt, Hind also targeted a tribute page for Hannah Witheridge, a 23-year-old who was killed on the Thai island of Koh Tao in 2014.

The other counts related to the deaths of Joe Tilley, 24, who was found dead at the bottom of a waterfall in Colombia in May, and 19-year-old Duncan Sim, whose remains were found at West Sands in St Andrews earlier this year.

Hannah Witheridge
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Hannah Witheridge was killed on the island of Koh Tao in 2014

District Judge Kate Meek sent Hind’s case to Newcastle Crown Court for sentencing on September 27, and praised the Burt family for sitting in on the proceedings.

Judge Meek also passed on her “deepest condolences” for the loss of their daughter and said that the defendant had only added to the “already unimaginable” pain that they were suffering.

Speaking outside court after the hearing, Hind said he was “deeply sorry” for his actions and that he had done them “for attention”.

Describing how he was suffering from mental health issues and was “highly intoxicated” at the time of the offences, he said: “All I can say to the families for the actions I have committed is sorry, that is all I can say – sorry.

Joe Tilley
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Joe Tilley was found dead at the bottom of a waterfall in Colombia in May

“I don’t expect them to accept any apology from me whatsoever for what I have done.”

When asked whether his actions could be seen as worthy of a jail sentence, he said: “From my point of view, personally, and for what I did, I would say yes.

“I do deserve a punishment, and I don’t just deserve a punishment of being banned from social media, trying to apologise to the parents and forgetting about the whole thing.

“I have to be punished accordingly for causing people the anxiety and the stress I have caused them, there’s no question about that.”

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