Family ripped apart in Cumbrian teenager's reign of terror
Published at 17:01, Thursday, 29 November 2012
A teenager who made threats to rape and murder during a 'reign of terror' has been jailed for 32 months.
Ian Nathaniel Miskelly “ripped a family apart” with his eight-month campaign of hate in which he sent hundreds of messages, a court heard.
The family, who lived near him in Workington, were so traumatised by what he did that the parents are now getting divorced.
Miskelly, 18, sent some of the messages direct to the mother, father and daughter. He left others on bottles he put outside their home.
But most he put on social networking websites or emailed to the police or CrimeStoppers, the anti-crime charity.
He also sent similar messages to and about another neighbour and to the woman police officer who was investigating the family’s complaints about him.
And - in an attempt to deflect suspicion - he even complained to the police that he had been sent a death threat which in fact he had written himself.
At Carlisle Crown Court today, Miskelly, of Bromley Street, Workington, pleaded guilty to 11 charges, which included harassment, making threats to kill and wasting police time.
The city’s Honorary Recorder Paul Batty QC sent him to prison for 32 months. “Why you embarked on this reign of terror is really unfathomable,” the judge said.
He added that despite the low intelligence that saw Miskelly “operating somewhat below par”, it was clear he had a “native cunning which he used to appalling effect on his victims.”
The court heard the family’s ordeal began in May last year when they found death threats outside their home. That soon escalated to death threats - and threats to rape or kill the daughter - being posted “in their hundreds” on Facebook.
Miskelly did not try to hide his identity and sent most of the messages in his own name.
More threats were sent to Cumbria Constabulary, the Metropolitan Police, CrimeStoppers, and when she started investigating the woman police officer was threatened too.
When he was arrested he freely admitted what he had been doing.
In mitigation, defence barrister Greg Hoare said that because of his intellectual difficulties Miskelly had not appreciated how his victims were being affected by his actions. “He utterly undervalued the impact that these matters would have,” he said.
Speaking after the sentencing, DC Carolyn Orr said: “Miskelly pursued a course of conduct against the victims which was nasty and sustained. The victims were all terrified and spent their days not knowing when the next threat would come.
“We are happy with the sentence which has been given by Judge Batty, who described his conduct as a ‘campaign of terror’ and how he utilised his native cunningness to appalling effect. He recognised how the effect on his victims has been profound and had completely ripped a family apart.
“The sentence given by Judge Batty will hopefully give the victims a sense of justice and they will be able to rebuild their lives after the devastating effect he had on them.”
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