‘Troll retweeted rape threats to Austen banknote MP’

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

Peter Nunn denies sending an abusive message to a Labour MP on Twitter. Picture: PA

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 banknote, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

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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 29 July – 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 message sent to Ms Creasy which threatened her with rape.

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 also referred to rape, and in a third tweet 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’s Newsnight to talk about the Twitter abuse, Nunn left another tweet branding the MP an “evil witch”.

The next day, he continued his abuse, leaving posts under a new Twitter account 

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

Ms Morgan, prosecuting, told the court that while the blog entries did not form part of the criminal charge, they showed 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.”

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

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.

Nunn denies sending a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character by a public electronic network between 28 July and 5 August last year.

The case was adjourned until 2 September, and Nunn was released on conditional bail.