“We were saddened to hear of the death of [alleged internet critic of the parents of Madeleine McCann] Brenda Leyland. It would be inappropriate to speculate or comment further at this time.”

A Sky News statement today on the death of Brenda Leyland who apparently took her own life after being accused of internet trolling by reporter Martin Brunt.

Brenda Leyland dead: Martin Brunt and Sky News face online backlash following death of Madeleine McCann parents’ ‘troll’ (Independent.co.uk)

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54 thoughts on “‘Saddened’

  1. Rep

    If she hadn’t trolled the family then she would have been outed. The blame lies with her surely?

    1. Mani

      One could argue had Sky News not doorstepped her she may not have committed suicide. Hence the change of tone here from ‘Internet troll’ to ‘Internet critic’ in an attempt to cover their bottoms.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Sky News probably have a whole over-worked department solely dedicated to covering their a**

      2. Medium Sized C


        That, surely is just common decency.
        As in don’t speak ill of the dead. Troll isn’t a nice thing to say about someone.

        Also, you really can’t make that argument.
        I mean just about everything you read about suicide would suggest that this is not the case.
        She could have been suicidal for months, she could have killed herself that day regardless of whether she was door stopped or not.
        Do you know why she killed herself?

        What you can say is that sky’s behavior is only being viewed as inappropriate because she killed herself. They seldom get criticised for this kind of shit-streakery, despite it being everyday stuff for them.

      3. Buzz

        I looked at her Twitter feed and she wasn’t saying anything that plenty of people have already said. Nor was she abusive. Martin Brunt should hang his head (not literally).

    2. deliverancecountry

      It was a form of vigilante justice I think. She was singled out, I certainly haven’t seen any other troll exposed and now we must speculate as to what she was allegedly guilty of and what vitriol she then faced when exposed. Should she be mentally unstable then national attention is hardly an effective treatment and remedy for her (again, alleged) actions. Perhaps she was inept in concealing her identity, unlike others.
      I am given to understand that our prison population is dominated by the inept, unstable, addicted and unfortunate, and our cruelty and mistreatment of these prisoners is a sop to our inability to control the violent and devious who abuse us without consequence.

      1. lois

        what I found strange was, that there was no police report, the McCann’s had made no comment or made complaint of any kind and sky news never really said what was in her tweets and when they interviewed her off camera she said very little, sky news at its best

        1. 3stella

          Sky news did publish some of her appalling tweets and a report was already with the police pending investigation.

      1. Sham Bob

        No, a private citizen being demonised by the UK’s biggest 24-hr news network for innapropriate use of social media.

        1. smoothlikemurphys

          “innapropriate use of social media”

          Is that what they call hate-speech now father?

  2. Spaghetti Hoop

    Hard to know without evidence if recent events prompted her to take her own life or she was already suicidal. Much like the nurse at the hospital where Kate Middleton was who took the prank call.
    I checked the SKY News Midnight bulletin and their papers digest last night while the story was already several hours old and they avoided coverage of the story. probably while consulting with their lawyers.

  3. Clampers Outside!

    Do people prefer to just let trolls off the hook to carry out abuse online? Or do they think the trolls should be called out and named? I’m with naming.
    I’d bet many of these probably praised the journos who have in the past printed the names of online bullies who pushed teens to suicide.

    So why not this lady.

    Some say it was a journo and not the ‘law’ that found this troll and so they say she was not legally proven to be behind the tweets, yet she said, admitted even, ‘she can say what she likes’ when she was questioned on the abusive tweets about and/to the McCanns.

    Many, including Alan Sugar (WTF?) are saying the McCanns are not on twitter so how did Sky find the troll? Who informed them?
    They ARE on twitter, not with personal profiles but with their @FindMadeline fund raiser of which they are directors, and they have nearly 15,000 followers.

    Are all trolls to be treated with kid gloves in future just in case they’ve a mental issue and mean while the victims continue to be abused?

    F**K THAT !

    If you troll online with your real name or anonymously, be prepared to be called out or found out and humiliated for it. End of.

    1. Mani

      I completely agree with you, however I would prefer the policy of prosecution by the police rather than the likes of Sky news, who are about as fit a guardian of morality as Jimmy Saville.

      1. Alfred E. Neumann

        Unfortunately the police are at least as bad, as witness (among other egregious crappiness) their protection of Jimmy Savile.

    2. C 2 the MF K

      what an idiotic way of thinking, trolls are good to keep simpletons like yourself in line.

    3. rotide

      She wasn’t a troll clampers. She obviously believed in what she was writing about.

      The irony here is that people here get trolled on a daily basis and still misuse the word.

  4. Ray

    I cannot help but feel incredibly sad for this woman, who for one reason or another became one of the ‘keyboard warriors’ that we so despise. However, that is absolutely no excuse for turning up at her door, shoving a camera and a microphone in her face and telling her she’s been caught. Informing her that Scotland Yard are investigating her on live TV is cheap and tactless. Nobody deserves that.

    It’s common knowledge that the type of behavior this woman engaged in suggests the possibility that she suffered from some form mental health issue. Of course, that can never be proved 100%, but a little common sense would have gone a long way.

    The thoughts of anybody in the world feeling so desperate and lost that they have to end their own life, no matter what they have done to end up in that position, simply doesn’t bear thinking about.

    1. Murtles

      Being in Ireland we are not subject to the full force of the Maddiegate theorys and conspiracies. It seemed this lady was one of the obsessives about what happened that night 7 years ago and while looking at her many many tweets (http://greptweet.com/u/sweepyface/sweepyface.txt) they seem to be more questioning the McCanns story and picking holes in it than being an outright abusive troll. Yes some of them are harsh but nothing directly threatening the family. Sky have clearly cocked up here.

      1. smoothlikemurphys

        Those do not strike me as the tweets of someone who wasn’t in the whole of her health, sounds like she knew exactly what she was doing.

    2. Clampers Outside!

      “It’s common knowledge that the type of behavior this woman engaged in suggests the possibility that she suffered from some form mental health issue”

      So many vague and assuming parts to that…

      “common knowledge” – no it is not common knowledge that trolls are all sufferers of poor mental health. And to make the assumption places sympathy with the perpetrator and not the victim.

  5. General Lee Nice

    She may have used an anonymous account but had her location enabled which would have led the journalist to her. Especially comming from such a small village.
    I think some of her comments were those of someone with some sort of mental illness which may have manifested into a suicide.
    Being found out as one of the McCann ‘internet critic’ and door stepped by Sky News seems to have triggered this sad outcome.

  6. Mr. T.

    The only legal way to obtain the identity behind an IP address is through a court order. If your identity is given out any other way, it would be illegal.

    How did Sky get her identity?

  7. Buzz

    When did an individual voicing their opinion online become a ‘troll’? If she had expressed these opionions on a radio programme, for example, no one would have batted an eyelid.

  8. The Old Boy

    I read that yesterday as the death of British Leyland in a hotel room. I thought it was one of those “most read” stories on the BBC sidebar that’s inexplicably actually from ten years ago.

  9. Fergus the magic postman

    While it seems that this lady was obsessed with the McCanns, and had her own opinions about whatever happened that night, I’ve not seen any evidence of her trolling them.

    That’s not to say she wasn’t, but from the tweets I’ve read it seems to me she just had a different opinion to the media and probably the masses, & wasn’t willing to put that opinion to bed.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      I think – correct me if wrong – her own Twatter account has been deleted. But there are tweets TO her which portray Gerry McCann in images as a Jimmy Saville-like character and there appears to be a ring of both slagging off the McCanns and purporting the theory that the McCanns were complicit in the crime and were paedophiles. The deceased woman seems to be one of that wider circle. I think social media needs to look at itself firstly. Had this not been going on, rolling news sites like Sky would not have poked in interest looking for a story.

      1. Lilly

        Plenty of people, offline as well as online, think the McCanns’ story doesn’t add up. This woman was entitled to her opinion. I’m amazed she didn’t stick around to defend it but who knows what kinds of pressure she was under.

        1. bisted

          …plenty of people believe all kinds of conspiracy theories. Just in the past few weeks loads of this McCann stuff started to appear on Twitter…..mad stuff….I had to delete several but my feeling was that there are a lot of mentally unstable people out there posting this bile.

        2. will-billy

          no one is ‘entitled’ to some bullshit ‘opinion’ unfounded on anything other than cant, gossip and the idle hearsay of empty brains. thankfully we have laws expressly forbidding such grostesque and hurtful gobshitery

  10. rotide

    1. She clearly wasn’t a troll. Sky news and other outlets need to learn what the word means

    2. Her twitter account reminds me of some people round these parts.

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