Teenager jailed for trolling footballer Andy Woodward about abuse
Lewis Hawkins, 18, and his father, David Riches, were both sentenced to 12 months after tweets that left abuse survivor in tears
Lewis Hawkins (left) and David Riches, who initially took the blame for his son and pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian
Fri 15 Dec ‘17 17.31 GMT Last modified on Sat 16 Dec ‘17 00.05 GMT
Two people are beginning 12-month prison sentences after a fake Twitter account, purporting to be that of a paedophile, was set up to “troll” Andy Woodward after he became the first former footballer to waive his anonymity and leave the sport facing a sexual abuse scandal involving hundreds of other victims.
Woodward, the former Crewe Alexandra, Bury and Sheffield United player whose case led to the Football Association commissioning an independent inquiry, was targeted by a bogus account using a photograph of the man who abused him in the 1980s and calling itself “The Nonce”.
One message showed an animation of the abuser repeatedly sucking on a lollipop and saying: “Hi Andy, fancy popping round mine?” Other messages included: “Am feeling horny,” and “Am back fuckers.” A second account was also set up purporting to be the same man.
Woodward, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, was placed on medication because of “the uncontrollable feelings and emotions and instant flashbacks” he suffered after Lewis Hawkins targeted him within two days of the former player telling his story in the hope it would encourage others to follow. The last available figures, up to 28 September, show that 748 victims have come forward and 285 suspects have been identified, with 331 clubs “impacted” and Operation Hydrant, the specialist police unit, receiving more than 2,000 football-related referrals.
In one of the few cases where internet trolling has led to prison, Hawkins has now been told he will have to serve six months, with the rest on licence, after what the judge described as a “sophisticated” operation to make Woodward believe it was a genuine account. The victim was in tears as he told Chester crown court about the devastating effects on his life. Hawkins was also served with a 15-year restraining order.
“The content of the messages horrified me to the point I felt dizzy,” Woodward said. “It made me feel sick. I dropped my phone on the table and I was in tears. I was home with my friends and family and virtually collapsed to the point where one of my family members had to hold me up from falling to the floor. Only two days before, I had given up my anonymity to speak publicly. I felt I had reverted to being a child and it took me back to tragic events. I was in a lot of fear. I felt vulnerable and powerless.”
Hawkins, 18, of Crewe, created the Twitter account after Woodward’s case instigated what the FA chairman, Greg Clarke, has described as a “tidal wave” and the biggest crisis he can remember in the sport.
Hawkins’s father, David Riches, 45, of Crewe, initially took the blame, telling the police it was “banter” and “personal fun” and saying he did not think it would upset anyone. Riches described himself as having a “cruel sense of humour” but eventually accepted it was “a bit out of order”.
However, Hawkins later confessed he had sent the messages and admitted he had asked his father to accept responsibility for what the judge at a previous hearing, Patrick Thompson, described as a “deeply disturbing and unpleasant case”. In a police interview, Hawkins said: “I was so bitter about my own life I thought I would try to upset somebody else’s.”
Hawkins and Riches pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice. Hawkins also admitted a charge under the 1988 Malicious Communications Act of sending an indecent or grossly offensive Twitter message that was intended to cause anxiety and stress.
Riches, who previously went by the name David O’Brien and had a number of previous convictions for dishonesty, shoplifting and public order offences, was also informed he would have to serve half of his sentence, with the remainder on licence, after the court was told he took the blame to cover for his son.
Hawkins had asked his father to “have my back” and was described by a probation officer as being “unaware of the word ‘trolling’ and not having any real knowledge of the problems around that, and the way the internet is increasingly used to terrorise people”. The teenager described himself as “not right in the head” after losing his job and a number of personal issues. As he was led away, he made a number of threats, shouting: “When I get out, I will fucking kill you.” Riches apologised to Woodward.
Speaking after the case, Woodward said: “I have no doubt the intention of the person who sent these messages was to cause significant harm to me. I have had several months of online abuse and feel totally devastated about the lengths that people will go to over the subject of child abuse. Nothing, however, compares to what these messages did to me.
DR. KATHERINE HORTON
Stop 007 - Who I am
the Youtube channel: videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjWJntgTFLL-gPofpru_iYg/videos
Dr. Katherine Horton, Oxford Physicist, Assaulted with EMF Weapons, Needs Your Help: Please Write to the German Ambassador in Bern
EVIDENCE - 2017.12.17_17.39 shots into neck from car in Schaffhausen (Stop 007)
Dr. Katherine Horton - Stop 007 Published on Dec 18, 2017
Dr. Katherine Horton records that, after dropping people off at the train station, she was just shot in the neck from a car in Schaffhausen with number plate TG-213 561 at 17:39 (time also shown on car clock on right side of video) on 17th December 2017. These appear to be floating death squads of members of the sprawling Secret Service networks using Directed Energy Weapons as manufactured by Diehl and Rheinmetall and other arms manufacturers. The shots appear to have aimed at the area where Dr. Horton was shot in the neck on 11th December 2017 by a cluster of poison darts, as published with a photo of the injuries on her neck on her Twitter on 12 December in Tweet no. 769: https://twitter.com/Stop007org/status... The darts resulted in huge lumps of inflammation that lasted an entire week. As the inflammation was beginning to go down, the car microwaved Dr. Horton's neck. Those darts could have carried chips that the car's weapon system was trying to aim at or communicate with. The chipping and tagging and shooting of Directed Energy Weapons at chips seem to be part of global War Games in preparation for UN Agenda-21-style global genocide for depopulation.
VICTIMS ARE ENCOURAGED TO DOWNLOAD & BACKUP THIS EVIDENCE FOR USE IN THEIR OWN COURT CASES AS SUPPORTING EVIDENCE.