South Shields man jailed for Facebook threats

An internet troll who used Facebook to threaten the lives of 200 American schoolchildren has been jailed for 28 months.

Reece Elliot, 24, from South Shields used a fake account to post online messages on a memorial site to a Tennessee teenager who'd been killed in a car accident.

In one he said: "My father has three guns. I'm planning on killing him first and putting his body in the dumpster. Then I'm taking the motor and I'm going in fast. I'm gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself. So you want to tell the deputy, I'm on my way."

Newcastle Crown Court heard the threats, which came soon after last year's Sandy Hook School massacre, were treated as genuine by police.

Three thousand pupils across the Warren County area were too afraid to go to classes and security at schools was stepped up.

Elliot had earlier admitted making threats to kill and sending grossly offensive messages.

Elliott bowed his head and wept as Judge James Goss QC, the Recorder of Newcastle, passed a two year and four month sentence.

He told Elliott: "During the first week in February this year, with what seems to be no more than self-indulgent nastiness, you posted a series of grossly offensive comments on Facebook."

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Ged Noble, who led the investigation, said officers were about to arrest Elliott when he walked into the police station.

The FBI contacted colleagues in England after discovering that the threats were coming from the North East.

He said: "Police officers were about to go to the identified address when we were notified by a local solicitor that Reece Elliott wanted to hand himself in."