A man who targeted a work colleague with offensive material on Twitter has been jailed for eight weeks.
Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard Anthony Groom, 46, had worked with the victim, a Muslim, for nearly 10 years at a Peterborough security firm and had previously made offensive comments in the workplace.
Police got involved on August 26 this year when the victim, a man in his 30s from Peterborough, reported Groom had posted offensive matter on Twitter. Groom had contacted the victim and the latter had clicked on his profile not knowing it was him.
He found the profile full of insulting tweets, re-tweets and hashtags about Islam and terrorism. Officers believe Groom deliberately interacted with the victim on Twitter, knowing he would then see his profile.
Groom was arrested and bailed but continued to post the same comments. On Wednesday (December 7), he admitted sending, by public communication, offensive matter.
The court took into account it was Groom’s first offence but also that it was racially aggravated.
Magistrates said Groom’s tweeting was “very inflammatory” and “insulting” and had “badly affected the victim”.
Groom was also ordered to pay £500 compensation and a £115 surcharge.
DC Josh Coe, who investigated, said: “It was clear Groom had interacted with the victim on Twitter so he would view his profile and see the inflammatory material.
“We take this type of hate crime very seriously and the sentence shows the courts do too. No one should have to put up with this type of offensive material and I would urge other victims to contact police. We will take allegations very seriously and investigate them thoroughly.”
People can report hate crime by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency, or via the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website. Alternatively, if people would prefer not to go directly to the police, they can report incidents online via the third party reporting scheme True Vision. This can be accessed via www.report-it.org.uk/