Death of British 'troll' sparks debate over Internet bile

Death of British 'troll' sparks debate over Internet bile
A postal worker delivers letters in the village where Brenda Leyland lived, at Burton Overy in central England . Inset: missing child Madeleine McCann.

LONDON - The death of a British woman accused of a vicious campaign of online abuse against the parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann has ignited debate over the growing scourge of Internet "trolls".

Brenda Leyland was found dead in a hotel room earlier this month after being confronted by Sky News over her alleged trolling of Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter went missing in Portugal in 2007.

An investigation is ongoing, but has found no evidence of foul play or third party involvement.

Using the Twitter handle @Sweepyface the 63-year-old reportedly posted thousands of hate-filled messages about the couple.

Her name figured on an 80-page dossier compiled by members of the public cataloguing alleged abuse directed at the couple and their two other children from a long list of Internet users, which is currently being investigated by the police.

It is a trend that has been replicated the world over against high-profile figures.

Zelda Williams, the daughter of US actor Robin Williams, recently quit Twitter after Internet trolls posted fake photos claiming to be her dead father.

Former model Charlotte Dawson, who was found dead at her Sydney apartment in February after battling depression, had been subjected to a torrent of abuse on Twitter.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.