Woman harassed Jarrow MP Kate Osborne by sending abusive and homophobic messages

Susan Dematas, 53, appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court after harassing Jarrow MP Kate Osborne Credit: NCJMEDIA SYNDICATION

A woman has appeared in court after harassing her MP online by sending her abusive and homophobic messages.

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne received homophobic tweets which branded her "vile" and "filthy" from 53-year-old Susan Dematas.

On Friday 16 September, Dematas, of Falmouth Drive, Jarrow, appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court to be sentenced for harassment without violence.

One of the tweets said: "When an MP sends police to your door for harassment, what a vile, disgusting excuse for a public servant.” Credit: NCJMEDIA SYNDICATION

Paul Doney, prosecuting, said Ms Osborne, who is openly gay, became aware of Twitter messages posted to her account on September 8, last year.

The messages accused the MP of "disgusting behaviour from a servant of the public".

Mr Doney said Ms Osborne felt "personally threatened by the posts", which also made reference to an incident at Jarrow Festival.

During the incident at the festival, Dematas "ambushed" Ms Osborne, confronting her with a megaphone.

Mr Doney said: "The police were contacted by the complainant as she felt harassed and threatened. Police then went to see the defendant in December."

Shortly after the police spoke to Dematas, she once again posted abusive posts on Twitter, saying: "When an MP sends police to your door for harassment, what a vile, disgusting excuse for a public servant harassing dying victims."

Ms Osborne then blocked the account of Dematas, but she still managed to send more abusive tweets calling her a "disgusting, filthy public servant" that month.

Mr Doney said that Dematas also posted tweets which were a "direct assault on her sexuality" and "used her sexuality to attack her on social media" as well as making a reference to "guns" and "Jimmy Saville".

Ms Osborne felt "personally threatened by the posts". Credit: Kate Osborne MP

Geoffrey Forrester, mitigating, said there was a background to the offences and said for a number of years Dematas has been suffering from a "somatic disorder".

He said: "She feels intense pain on a daily basis which wears her down to the point that everything becomes extremely stressful to her."

Mr Forrester said Dematas had approached Ms Osborne and her office to ask her to assist in regards to a personal medical query, and a correspondence began.

He added: "She was then sent a letter telling her the NHS didn't accept any responsibility for any condition she may or may not have. Subsequently, eight days later she went to the Jarrow Festival."

Mr Forrester said that Dematas went to the festival with a "small megaphone" and "addressed people about her medical condition", which Ms Osborne "deemed not appropriate".

Mr Forrester said that the messages Dematas sent Ms Osborne were "indefensible" and said she "did not intend to offend or be homophobic" in any way.

He added: "She suffers from a debilitating and brutal condition which is destroying her life."

Dematas, who had no previous convictions, was sentenced to an 18 month community order and ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation days.

She must pay £80 compensation to Ms Osborne and a £95 surcharge. An 18 month restraining order was also imposed.

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