Friday 13 December 2019

Man (42) admits sending abusive messages about murdered school teacher Ann Maguire

Ann Maguire
Ann Maguire

Dave Higgens

A 42-year-old man has admitted posting abusive Twitter messages about the murder of school teacher Ann Maguire.

Robert Riley, from Port Talbot, South Wales, appeared before magistrates in Leeds today where he admitted sending a message of a grossly offensive, abusive or malicious character.

The messages were not read out in court but the bench heard that some of them related to the murder of Mrs Maguire, 61, at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds a week ago.

The magistrates were told that Riley needed to be sentenced where the messages were sent and agreed to transfer the case to Swansea Magistrates' Court.

Riley, of Dan Y Coed, Cwmavon, Port Talbot, was given conditional bail.

Riley left court saying nothing, with his grey tracksuit top pulled over his head.

During the 10-minute hearing his solicitor Michael Walsh said: "He is mortified by his own behaviour and he apologises for any upset that may have been caused to everybody."

Mr Walsh asked the magistrates to free his client on bail, telling them the only reason he had been held overnight was for his own safety.

He suggested that Riley may be in more danger in a Leeds prison than he would be walking the streets.

Earlier, Sandra White, prosecuting, told the court that Riley had posted a number of offensive tweets, only some of which related to the murder of Mrs Maguire.

She said the offence had come to the attention of West Yorkshire Police because of this connection but told the bench that it should properly have been charged in South Wales.

Ms White said the magistrates in Swansea would also be in a position to deal with Riley's existing community order. No details of this order were given in court today.

Riley was given bail on condition that he does not use social networking sites and the internet generally between now and his appearance on Thursday.

The defendant sat in the dock with a woman security officer, wearing his track suit top over a grey T-shirt and blue jogging bottoms.

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