1. ITV Report

Internet troll jailed after targeting family of murdered backpacker Hannah Witheridge

Paul Hind received 14 months in prison after trolling her family online. Credit: PA

An internet troll who targeted Facebook pages dedicated to young people who had died- including one in memory of Hannah Witheridge- has been jailed for 14 months.

Paul Hind left comments on social media which mocked and insulted people who had passed away and caused extra heartache to their families.

Hannah Witheridge from Hemsby in Norfolk was killed on the Thai island of Koh alongside fellow traveller David Miller in September 2014.

Paul Hind received 14 months in prison after trolling her family online earlier this year.

Hannah's sister, Laura, has since released a statement which describes how Hind's actions in particular have caused her and her family significant distress. She hopes the sentence will serve as a warning to others.

  • Click below for a full report from ITV Anglia's Rob Setchell.
Hannah and David were both killed in 2014

The trolling incident that found me phoning the police back in March this year, and which is relevant to the sentencing today was one of the most callous and cowardly I have had to endure. This one was deeply rooted, especially dark and unusual. It was obviously invented and executed to upset my family and those who loved Hannah but, unlike the others, it was as much of an attack on Hannah as it was on my family.

Creating an offensive, inaccurate, fraudulent twitter profile in Hannah's name and following everyone from the friends list of her authentic profile saw this particular offender stooping to new lows. Photos were stolen from Hannah's accounts and the profile biography created was cruel, completely inaccurate and callous.

Sending me crime scene photos and death threats is one thing, but creating a fake profile in the name of a victim of a brutal murder is something else entirely. Hannah is unable to defend herself. Trolling the living is terrible enough, but targeting the deceased is an absolute atrocity. Even though the likely motivation was to cause distress to Hannah's loved ones, the fact that her identity was fraudulently used to achieve this is despicable.

Losing someone you love, suddenly, in tragic circumstances is the most painful thing imaginable. I don't believe that, unless you have been in such a position, you can truly comprehend how torturous and unbearable it is.

Back in March, for the first time ever, I was told something could be done. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that today offers some justice for my family, and all of the other families involved in this case… and I hope it sends a strong message that sitting in a dark room, hiding behind a computer screen does not make you untraceable. I hope today serves as an example that crimes of this nature do come with consequence.”

– Laura Witheridge's full Victim Personal Statement
Hannah Witheridge was killed alongside David Miller.

"This is a case that remains deeply personal to the victims. By directly targeting family members of Hannah Witheridge the messages he sent were clearly criminal and particularly distasteful.

Norfolk Police will continue to actively identify and prosecute any people that may carry out similar acts in the future and we continue to support Hannah's family.

– Detective Inspector Matt Dyson, Norfolk Police

In addition to the death of Hannah Witheridge, Hind also targeted the families of Olivia Burt from Hampshire, who was found dead outside a nightclub in Durham in Februrary, Leicester's Joe Tilley, 24, who was found dead at the bottom of a waterfall in Colombia in May and 19-year-old Duncan Sim, from Duns, in the Scottish Borders, whose remains were found at West Sands in St Andrews earlier this year.

At Newcastle Crown Court Hind, 38, from Hexham, Northumberland pleaded guilty to four separate offences of conveying false and indecent information which was indecent or grossly offensive.

Judge Penny Moreland said the offences were of “unbelievable callousness“.