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  1. ITV Report

'Sick sadist' sorry after trolling grieving families

Paul Hind Photo: PA

By Kris Jepson

A man from Northumberland has been described as a 'sick sadist' after admitting to trolling the families of four people who recently died.

Paul Hind, 38, from Hexham, admitted to trolling the bereaved families of Olivia Burt, Joe Tilley, Duncan Simm, and Hannah Witheridge.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Olivia Burt, 20, was a talented sailor and natural science student at Durham University.

She died in February during an incident outside the Missoula nightclub in city. An inquest will be held into her death later this year.

Paula & Nigel Burt Credit: PA

Her parents have not only had to come to terms with their loss, but they have also had to cope with the trolling conducted by Mr Hind.

He defaced her photograph on Facebook, labelling her as a "sex worker" and "prostitute".

Her death is still very recent and causing us tremendous heartache as we struggle to come to terms with our loss. The person who carried out the trolling can only be described as a sick sadist, who knows that they are adding to our anguish and gets enjoyment from this.

– Nigel Burt, Olivia Burt's dad
Olivia Burt Credit: Family photo

Paul Hind also admitted to conveying false information which was indecent or grossly offensive regarding the deaths of three other people.

They were Joe Tilley, 24, who was found dead at the bottom of a waterfall in Colombia in May, Duncan Simm, 19, whose remains were found at West Sands in St Andrews and Hannah Witheridge, 23, who was killed in Thailand in 2014.

He apologised to the bereaved families, said he deserves a prison sentence and claimed he had mental health issues and said that he was "intoxicated" when he sent the messages.

I do deserve a punishment and I don't just deserve a punishment of being banned from social media, trying to apologise to the parents and forgetting about the whole thing. I have to be punished accordingly for causing people this anxiety and the distress I've caused them.

– Paul Hind

District Judge Kate Meek told Mr Hind he had imposed on the families "an immeasurable degree of further pain, distress and suffering to what was already an unimaginable pain" and that he had acted in a "very calculated fashion".

She admitted Mr Hind to Newcastle Crown Court for sentencing on the 27 September and praised Miss Burt's family for their "bravery and dignity".