Peter Nunn, a 33-year-old part-time delivery driver from Bristol, either sent or retweeted a string of messages directed to the MP for Walthamstow, including one which asked for “the best way to rape a witch”.
The City of London Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday that the messages began on 29 July last year, after Creasy backed feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez’s successful campaign for a picture of a women to be put on £10 notes, The Guardian reported.
Nunn also posted a series of bizarre videos in which he said the two women were part of a feminist conspiracy and played “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead”.
One message he retweeted was from an account called “eatcreasynow” which read: “go get her, eat the meat!”
He also admitted to sending a tweet in which he said Creasy should treat rape threats as “a compliment”.
He claimed to have been retweeting offensive messages in an attempt to “satirise” the online trolling debate, and said after the hearing that his conviction is a “sad day for free speech”. He also claimed, in his defence, to be a feminist himself.
But district judge Elizabeth Roscoe found him guilty and said he was an unreliable witness, adding that a prison sentence is “extremely likely”. She said:
I’m told lots of people joke about raping. I’m not sure I agree that these days that is a common form of humour in any form of media – whether it is in the privacy of someone’s home or a bar.
But this is not a casual throwaway comment within the restriction of one or two people. It is a casual conversation, but with a much wider audience.
I’m in absolutely no doubt that those tweets, on an objective basis, are menacing.
In his defence he also said that the whole thing was a bit of a joke:
It is just a joke. It came into my mind at the time and I thought it was really, really funny.
I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams that anyone would think, ‘He is going to come and drown me like a witch.’
The whole witch thing is obviously satirical, it is not cynical like the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) are claiming. I don’t see that message as being menacing or offensive. It is just humour, nothing more than that.
Although Nunn was mainly retweeting the offensive tweets of others, the law specifically classes it an offence to cause “any such message or matter to be so sent”.
And the list of people whose hate-filled tweets have seen them be arrested, charged, and convicted in the UK grows longer and longer.
At least nine people have now been convicted of Twitter hate crimes since Liam Stacey spent 56 days in jail for racially abusing footballer Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a heart attack during a game in 2012.
No one would bet against the list getting longer in the months and years to come, as the unruly barroom banter and unhinged hatred of Twitter clashes with the constraints of law and public decency.