A British girl, only 18, has been jailed for cyberbullying. She had issued a death threat through Facebook. She thus earns the dubious honour of being the first to be punished by the courts for cyberbullying.
Keeley Houghton wrote on her personal website that she would kill Emily Moore, her schoolmate.
AdvertisementShe was sentenced to three months in a young offenders' institute after pleading guilty to harassment at Worcester Magistrates Court.
Apparently Houghton had been pursuing Moore remorselessly since their school days. The hapless Moore was assaulted once and even her home came under attack at one stage.
The court heard Houghton, of Malvern, Worcestershire, had two previous convictions for her vendetta.
In 2005 she was convicted of assaulting Moore as she walked home from school and was subsequently expelled from school.
Two years later she was convicted of causing criminal damage to Miss Moore's home after kicking her front door.
Abusing her on the internet, Houghton wrote of her Moore: 'Keeley is going to murder the b****.'
She continued: 'She is an actress. What a f***ing liberty. Emily F***head Moore.'
The court heard that two days before she made the threat, Houghton had intimidated Miss Moore after spotting her in a pub.
Sara Stock, prosecuting, told the court: 'Emily was in the pub when she saw the defendant who stared at her while she was dancing.
'Later when Emily was sitting on her own the defendant came over and sat next to her and asked her "Are you Emily Moore? Can I have a huggle?" '
She continued: 'Emily told the defendant to leave her alone otherwise she would call the police.
'Keeley then told her 'I'll give you something to ring the police about'.'
Houghton had previously tried to excuse her actions by telling police she wrote the death threats while she was drunk late at night and had no memory of it.
But when police examined internet records they discovered Houghton wrote the comments at 4pm on July 12 and kept them on her Facebook page for 24 hours.
District Judge Bruce Morgan told her: 'Since Emily Moore was 14 you have waged compelling threats and violent abuse towards her.
'Bullies are by their nature cowards, in school and society. The evil, odious effects of being bullied stay with you for life.
'On this day you did an act of gratuitous nastiness to satisfy your own twisted nature.'
Houghton, who is unemployed, was also given a restraining order banning her from contacting Miss Moore in person, via the internet or in any other manner for five years.
Houghton sobbed throughout her 15 minute hearing and her friends shouted, 'We love you Keeley,' as she was led in handcuffs to the cells.
People have previously been jailed for harassment and stalking on social networking sites but Houghton is thought to be the first to be jailed for bullying via the internet.
Last month an inquest heard how a schoolgirl took a fatal overdose of painkillers after bullies waged a hate campaign against her on Bebo, Daily Mail reported.