Man 'tweeted abuse to female MP'

Witney Gazette: Peter Nunn was charged over messages sent to Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow Peter Nunn was charged over messages sent to Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow

A "Twitter troll" bombarded a Labour MP with a series of abusive messages after she supported a successful campaign to feature Jane Austen on the £10 note, a court heard today .

Peter Nunn, 33, retweeted "menacing" messages threatening to rape Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy and branding her a "witch", it is alleged.

He launched his campaign of "hatred" after the Labour politician backed a high-profile bid launched by feminist Caroline Criado-Perez to keep a woman on a British ban note, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

Alison Morgan, prosecuting, told the court that Nunn "embarked on a campaign of hatred in various different forms towards both women" last summer when the campaign was at the centre of press reports.

He began leaving offensive posts on July 29 - five days after the Bank of England revealed Austen would be the new face of the £10 note, it is claimed.

He allegedly retweeted a threatening message sent to Ms Creasy which read: "You better watch your back, I'm going to rape your arse at 8pm and put the video all over."

Ms Morgan said: "It is not alleged that he created the text and the threat, but for whatever reason he chose to retweet it and it is a message that is menacing in character."

Over the next day he sent a barrage of other offensive messages to the London MP using the twitter account @protectys, it is claimed.

In his next message he posted "best way to rape a witch, try and drown her first then just when she's gagging for air that's when you enter".

Later that evening he allegedly posted: "If you can't threaten to rape a celebrity, what is the point in having them?"

At 10pm that night, half an hour before Ms Criado-Perez and Ms Creasy were due to appear on the BBC show Newsnight to talk about the twitter abuse they had endured, Nunn left another tweet branding the MP an "evil witch".

Just minutes later he posted a message to the @eatcreasynow account writing: "Go get her, eat the meat!"

Ms Morgan told the court: "Two minutes before @eatcreasynow sent a message to Stella Creasy saying 'Hi, it took twitter 30 minutes to ban me before.

"'I'm here again to tell you that I'll rape you tomorrow at 6pm'.

"The defendant responded in a message to the world - Go get her eat the meat. It's our suggestion that, when read in the context of previous texts, that is itself menacing."

Later that night he left another offensive post, writing: "What's the odds of Criado and Creasy snuggling and cuddling under a duvet checking their tweets and cackling like witches (rape me says Caroline)."

The next day he continued his abuse, leaving posts under a new twitter account @stabproovest.

He retweeted a message to Ms Creasy from someone else saying: "I heard in the news that you are soon going to be raped. Will this be done by a massive black guy? Go away."

The court heard that Nunn, a self-styled blogger from Bristol, also left offensive blog posts in which he branded the campaigners witches and mocked them.

Ms Morgan, prosecuting, told the court that while the blog entries do not form part of the criminal charge, they show the "hatred" he had for the women.

She said: "They demonstrate the state of mind of the defendant at the time at which he was sending the reported tweets.

"If it were to be submitted that these were jokes or unintended, the background is that he appears to have formed a hatred towards the women expressing themselves on Twitter.

"There are matters that are offensive such as playing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead and a reference to witches and covens."

The court heard that Ms Criado-Perez, who spearheaded the campaign, received a barrage of abuse on Twitter.

Ms Morgan said: "It is right to say that beyond the confines of this particular case, Ms Criado-Perez received a significant number of offensive tweets to her Twitter account from many different users, but including the accounts attributed to this defendant."

Nunn was arrested at his home Emersons Green, Bristol, on August 7 after Ms Creasy and Ms Criado-Perez reported his abuse.

When he was questioned by police, he denied using Twitter to advocate violence or rape.

The self-dubbed blogger and journalist admitted he had retweeted messages that were violent, but said he did "to further debate".

Nunn, who wore a smart grey suit, white shirt and pink and purple patterned tie, denies sending a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character by a public electronic network between July 28 and August 5 last year.

Nunn accused Ms Criado-Perez in a series of manic video blogs of lying about rape threats in a "hoax" to clamp down on internet freedom.

In the first video, posted on his Twitter account, he launched a tirade against feminists who he said were using the micro-blogging site to further their own agenda.

In the clip, which is shot in the dark with eerie purple lighting, he said: "In this campaign, although technically it is a good campaign, she is exaggerating the amount of tweets and comments, there is something not quite right going on.

"Feminists are using it (Twitter) to push their own agenda, I think it might be a hoax. Listening to the radio interview, it is not quite clear where she is coming from, she didn't really seem offended."

He goes on: "I think they are witches, they are going to cast some spell over the freedom of the internet.

"They are probably working with the Government, the Government wants to restrict freedom. They just want to say to Twitter 'Get him, get him'."

He railed against moves to arrest Twitter trolls for posting abuse against the campaigners, and said: "Even the tweeters who did these things, these people they have messed up, they don't deserve jail, they deserve help."

Nunn posted six increasingly manic videos online in which he criticised campaigners and hit out at Twitter bosses for shutting down his accounts.

In the second clip, he stands outside in an area of grassland, and rants about "evil witches of the coven".

He said: "Caroline Criado-Perez, f****** Spanish, she's running this coven. And why? Its bizarre she has decided to basically try and f*** up Twitter.

"She has gone on there, got a few followers, and thought 'I'm the daddy'. She thought 'Yes, Twitter it's mine'."

He goes on: "She stirs up these women into a frenzy of hate, that is the only way I can describe it."

He also laid into Ms Creasy's attitude to abuse on Twitter, accusing her of diverting precious police resources away from catching real rapists by making police complaints.

Speaking in his West Country drawl, he said: "An MP gets a few jokey messages saying 'I'm going to rape you'. All right. It f****** happens, man. They disagree with you. They can threaten to kill you, I've heard that before.

"You have got to deal with it. You can't go crying to the police all the time, they have got enough work to do. They are looking for murderers and proper rapists, you are diverting their time and resources into fighting this problem."

In another clip he brands Ms Criado-Perez "a corrupt witch", adding: "Call her a feminist Nazi, call her what you want.

"She has got me banned two or three times now, I'm not impressed. She thinks Twitter accounts should be banned for simply disagreeing with her."

He said the women should have "brushed off" their abuse.

In another video, he plays the Wizard of Oz song Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead over a shot of his Twitter feed.

Throughout the clips, which were posted between July 28 and August 5 last year, Nunn denies sending abusive messages himself and insists "I've not been doing anything wrong".

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