internet troll jailed - a bit ott?

(205 Posts)
netherlee Tue 13-Sep-11 23:30:42

Troll jailed

OK this man is depraved and he deserved to be punished, but AIBU to think prison is a bit far? Then again, MN trolls take note. There are consequences if you cross the line.

bibbitybobbityhat Tue 13-Sep-11 23:32:07

No, I don't think prison is a bit far. He needs to be punished for the anguish he caused.

CaptainMartinCrieff Tue 13-Sep-11 23:34:06

No I think prison is the best place for him, he will have time to think through his actions and realise how much hurt he has caused to these bereaved families.

DooinMeCleanin Tue 13-Sep-11 23:34:15

What Bibbity said. Although I would hope he is also getting somekind of mental health support too. You'd have to be ill to do something like that surely?

silverfrog Tue 13-Sep-11 23:40:49

CMC, he has Aspergers. it is highly unlikely he is going to suddenly understand empathy - something he appears to have struggled with so far (understatement)

what he did was not right. but it is entirely possible he did not fully understand what he was doing.

Maryz Tue 13-Sep-11 23:47:20

I'm not sure that jailing this particular troll is going to have any effect though - education/social stories/counselling might be more useful (and cheaper for society as a whole).

It is entirely possible that he thought he was being funny. Many people I know with AS have warped senses of humour, few are deliberately cruel - being told that what they are doing is wrong is usually enough to change their behaviour.

If I thought he was doing it on purpose to upset the families, then I would be more inclined to support a jail sentence.

duchesse Tue 13-Sep-11 23:48:43

Sounds like he was being deliberately unpleasant actually. At the very least a wind-up merchant, assuming he really does have AS. Prison is be a bit extreme imo.

(Incidentally I do wonder about the people who are currently claiming AS when caught doing something illegal (eg that hacker guy, who MUST have known that what he was doing was illegal). Having AS does not affect IQ (clearly, if he managed to break into the Pentagon mainframe) nor level of understanding of clearcut issues like legality.)

ScaredyDog Tue 13-Sep-11 23:51:35

He should have got longer.

I'm no bleeding heart liberal, but we knew one of the families concerned. They went through hell with the loss of their daughter and this scumbag made it even worse for them.

Kind words at such a time can be a comfort. Evil comments like his only made their terrible situation even worse.

silverfrog Tue 13-Sep-11 23:53:16

"currentyl claiming AS", duchesse? are you suggesting that people can magic up this dx out of thin air, and that courts would pay attention without proper medical backing?

Gary McKinnon does not "claim" to have AS. he has AS - a huge difference.

having a high intelligence and understanding of legality does not mean that compulsive obsessions can be contained.

I think it's absolutely right to punish people who do this. I know of a horrible case where a young girl and her boyfriend died in tragic circumstances and someone posted the most vile things on their memorial pages. The pain it must have caused their families is unimaginable, and that someone could mock their loss like that is abhorrent. In this case an Aspergers diagnosis complicates the matter and I don't know enough about the condition to say whether it's an appropriate punishment but in general terms of course this behaviour warrants jail.

festi Tue 13-Sep-11 23:54:53

he should have gone to jail. his aspergers may have not been significant in his ability to know what he did was wrong. I would only be concerned if his aspergers made him vulnerable in jail, then I would say I dont think he should be sent to jail, but should be within the care of his LA.

duchesse Tue 13-Sep-11 23:56:25

I don't think it should in any way be a reason for reducing or dropping a sentence, no. Don't really see why it even comes into play if someone is of normal intelligence and is doing something frankly illegal.

Maryz Tue 13-Sep-11 23:56:41

No, having AS doesn't affect IQ - in fact many people with AS have higher than average IQ. What they don't have (which is very frustrating for people dealing with them) is any sense of "what if" or any ability to see into the future, to see what consequences their actions will have.

My son has no idea of "what might happen". If it hasn't happened yet (car crash, getting run over, getting arrested, whatever), then he can't imagine it happening iyswim.

Looking at facebook and other sites, with all the "funny" videos makes most people cringe. My son just thinks it's funny - you know, all those "You've been framed" crashes and accidents, well he wouldn't even think that someone might have been hurt.

I do agree, though, about sudden diagnoses seemingly just appearing in time to defend court cases - but if he already had a diagnosis, or was already Aspergery, then the money that is going to be spent on his jail time would be much better spent teaching him not to do things.

Because the one thing I have discovered with ds1 is that if I tell him that he has hurt someone's feelings (unintentially usually), he doesn't do it again.

netherlee Tue 13-Sep-11 23:57:05

Hmmm having AS probably can affect understanding of legal issues. Obviously the judge did not think it was enough an excuse if any. Lads I know with AS cause low level upset on a regular/maybe daily basis but can't see them stooping this low. Hard to tell though.

worraliberty Wed 14-Sep-11 00:01:36

I think jail is the right place for someone like that. It's about time courts started taking internet bullying more seriously when it's this extreme.

It's also possible to have AS and be a completely vile individual though. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 00:03:56

it is not as clear cut as intellegance or IQ duchesse. most often with AS it is about a ckear idea of consequences or how action affect others. Also some times in my experience some people who have AS in particular aspergers may test such situations for what apperas self gratification, but quite often it is a social immaturity, if you would like, probbaly not the best descripion, but in an attemt to explore how non AS people maty react so to enforce a pattern of expected behaviour or bewilderment at expected behaviour and to continually test that out to un earth any deviance to expectations.

but on the other hand he may well have had a very clear understaning of what he was doing and was acting out of sheer malice prescenting no vulnerability.

I think a psych assesment is very important, however, I would find it very sad and have had experience of very vulnerable people serving jail terms that have been very dteremantal to thier long term health and development.

duchesse Wed 14-Sep-11 00:05:23

I do however think that the internet provides a whole new level of removal from Other People that probably makes it more likely for an AS person to get it wrong.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:06:07

agree, worra. it is possible.

on the whole I agree with Maryz: time (and money) would be better spent on educating him as to why he shoudl not have been doing this.

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 00:07:18

absolutly agree with that duchesse.

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 00:13:11

I suspect the problem is that someone with AS, living on their own, probably removed from family and any social interaction, stops being aware of how their actions affect other people.

This "commenting on people who have died" quite possibly started slowly, with a couple of comments on pages, and then escallated when there was either no response or lots of attention - either could encourage someone on another screen to just up the ante, and start posting more and more shocking comments, just to get a response.

It is quite possible that he never thought of these people as real people, with feelings and families who could be hurt.

A few years ago a couple of teenagers near us were playing dare on the railway and got hit by a train sad. ds told us some horrible jokes about it (he must have heard them somewhere hmm, but the kids who said them to him probably had more sense than to tell their parents). I had to explain to him very clearly why they weren't appropriate, and why he shouldn't repeat them - he genuinely thought they were funny, which they would have been if there hadn't been real people involved iyswim.

I worry what will happen to ds when I'm no longer around to explain to him when he goes too far with jokes. People will think he is nasty, which he isn't, he just doesn't get the "line that shouldn't be crossed" that other kids just instinctively understand.

I'm not excusing this guys behaviour, by the way. I wonder had he got a warning and continued, or whether it was all found out at once? Because if he continued despite a warning then he has to be punished. But if this was a first offense (or a first "catch" iyswim), then explanation and counselling might be more of an effective deterrant.

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 00:13:44

Yeouch, sorry, that was long blush.

ScaredyDog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:14:00

Whatever his diagnosis, he knew that creating a video of a girl who died by throwing herself under a train with a picture of her face on a train and calling it Tasha the tank engine would cause distress.

Otherwise why would he have done it? Why would he have posted such vile things about her and others who had died?

I'm sorry, he knew it was wrong, he said deliberately hurtful and devastating things that upset loved ones of those who died.

That's why he was found guilty.

ScaredyDog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:14:50

I should say he pleaded guilty.

DooinMeCleanin Wed 14-Sep-11 00:16:43

I commented before I read the article. I'd only seen a brief clip on the news while at work. I missed the AS bit. It does put a different spin on it, but I do think a message needs to be sent to others and the grief caused to the families needs to be acknowledged.

I'm not sure prison is appropriate if the AS dx is true. Either way I hope he gets the support he needs now, he is clearly a very unhappy individual.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:17:00

sorry, scaredydog, but it is entirely possible that he did not know that it was wrong.

I agree completely with Maryz's last post. my brother is HFA/AS and I can see exactly how he might do this sort of thing. he cannot see how things affect others, and he cannot see beyond the immediate.

he knows the technical definitions of right and wrong, and can recite the laws on various issues, but is unable to see how these laws, and his knowledge re: right/wrong actually apply to him and the situation he is in.

there is a big gulf between knowing soemthign and understanding it.

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 00:20:07

He could have done it for attention, to get noticed, to seem clever to the online community that he considers to be his "friends", if he has no real life friends.

He didn't know the people, he didn't know their families, it might genuinely not have occurred to him that anyone would have been upset.

It is hard to believe if you don't know anyone with AS, but he really might not have meant any harm. However, what he did was wrong, and it is right that he was called on it and punished for it - I just wonder whether there might have been a more effective punishment than jail.

And duchesse is right - having AS doesn't necessarily make you a nice person, so he could just be a bollox, who knew what he was doing and wanted to hurt people. I don't know, because I don't know him.

duchesse Wed 14-Sep-11 00:24:25

I agree Maryz- maybe he is a member of another online community that likes to pull silly stunts of this kind and he just went too far in a bid to impress them.

JLK2 Wed 14-Sep-11 00:30:10

He should be banned from the internet for life IMO.

worraliberty Wed 14-Sep-11 00:36:05

I think in cases like this, no-one will ever really know if his AS had anything to do with it.

On the one hand it might...on the other hand it might have had nothing to do with it and he might simply be an evil twat.

No-one will know for certain...least of all the judge because let's face it, Solicitors/Barristers will encourage their clients to 'play on' just about anything they can to win the case.

My friend's DP got pulled for drink driving and when his Solicitor found out he'd spent time in a care home as a child, that got brought up in court in his 'defense' ffs confused

I'd hate to be a judge in these sort of cases.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 00:38:59

it is possible to test a person's empathy and understanding of the world, though.

and it would be possible to investigate this as part of the case.

I agree we do not know whether his actions were as a result of his AS, or as a result of being an arse. BUt I do not hold out much hope that the AS side of the defence was investigated fully (and not so it could be used as an excuse, but so that his actions coudl be fully understood for what they were)

WilsonFrickett Wed 14-Sep-11 00:41:01

What Maryz said.

Something like an internet ban (although how would that work?) would serve better than prison IMO, if there is a true AS diagnosis here. An internet ban would protect the public, rather than simply punishing an individual who may not have been in control of their actions, or realised what harm their actions would cause.

But as the news report says 'sentenced' rather than 'found guilty' you have to assume that background reports have been prepared?

worraliberty Wed 14-Sep-11 00:41:29

It is a tough one silver

And then again, as understanding as I like to think I am about AS or any other condition...I do know if that was my dead son or daughter he mocked, I'd want him locked up and the key thrown away no matter what SN he did or didn't have.

But I suppose that's just the Mum in me talking sad

fit2drop Wed 14-Sep-11 01:04:06

Well hopefully its the start of sending out clear messages to face bookers/ social networking etc that this sort of bullying will not be tolerated.
Bullying on social networking sites has become far too prevalent so maybe just maybe the courts/ police will use this as a bench mark for any future anguish these cowards cause

SouthernFriedTofu Wed 14-Sep-11 02:43:41

Yabu, glad he got in trouble. If he had created a video and left it on their doorstep and left notes in their mailbox make it seem less ott? He harrasssed families who had lost children the fact that it was online is irelevant.

I realise some people are claiming his As migh have affected his judgement but while I accept some people might tell off colour jokes and not have the empathy to realise they may offend others (like when telling friends jokes or sending on those horrible text jokes that appear after every major world tradgety)... I can't belive he really thought the families in question would find them funny hmmt

cingulare Wed 14-Sep-11 03:09:24

What this boy did is absolutey dreadful and must have caused immense distress......

Boys like this always stand out in prison, they don't 'fit in' and get horribly bullied/tormented because they lack the social 'know-how' to survive there.

He will probably have to be kept in a safe environment within the prison [rule 43] for the length of his sentence. So wonder why it's so vital -other than as a message to other trolls - to incarcerate him if he'd be so vulnerable?

IMHO a more imaginative, rehabilitative sentence would be better.

But then you can say that about many young people in the prison system.

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 04:13:31

WilsonFrickett, part of his sentence is a 5year ASBO/ban from social networking sites. which is as it should be.

I have a friend here who has a 16yo with Asperger's. He knows that rules exist, he even understands them - but what he cannot do is necessarily accept them, if he thinks they are stupid or don't apply to him. You could say his arrogance is breathtaking - but it's not that. His Asperger's affects his ability to understand the "greater good", or the social reasons for the rules - he can only apply them to himself. So when he hacked into the school's computer system so he could access the internet in school time, he couldn't see why that was wrong - he wanted to use the internet, the bar on it appeared stupid to him and it was easy for him to get into it and change it, so why not? he was of course punished for it but it STILL didn't register that this particular rule made any sense - so he did it again. And was punished again.

Finding a way to explain stuff to him so that it makes sense to him is quite hard, my friend finds. He has the IQ, just not the ability to extrapolate outside of himself.

I can't say whether or not the man in question here did this because of his Asperger's or because he's a nasty bastard or because he's sad, drunk and lonely or a combination of all 3 - but it is quite possible that the full ramifications of his actions would have eluded him.
Still - it sends a message to the rest of the trolling world - don't fucking do it or you'll end up in jail, you nasty bastards.

CaptainMartinCrieff Wed 14-Sep-11 04:28:53

I admit I know very little about Aspergers... But irrespective of any condition, disease or diagnosis people either commit crime or don't and that is up to a jury and a judge to decide. If deemed to be criminal then sentence appropriate to the crime according to the law needs to be served and in this case I still believe he should go to prison, anyone with condition, disease and/or diagnosis will/should receive appropriate support in prison.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 14-Sep-11 06:35:14

I think he knew how much upset he was causing. I read that the girls sister messaged him on the Facebook account he created telling him how upsetting it was and he just sent a really vile message back.

GetAwayFromHerYouBitch Wed 14-Sep-11 06:39:39

Maryz - can I just say how eye-opening your posts are.

troisgarcons Wed 14-Sep-11 06:42:09

The Mail can reveal that his father is John Duffy, 54, who wrote for Terry Wogan’s Radio 2 Breakfast show and found success when a spoof Twitter account he set up parodying Cheryl Cole – called ‘Cheryl Kerl’ – became a hit.

Parodying his father by the looks of it.

startAfire Wed 14-Sep-11 07:42:42

Message withdrawn

cingulare Wed 14-Sep-11 09:47:03

Not so long ago 10% of young male prisoners in YOI had AS. Always, seemed a lot to me - x10 rest of the pop. Court diversion schemes try to keep them out of custody now unless they are violent/dangerous.

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 09:53:54

startafire there are forensic learning disability units that are similar to secure mental health units, usual individuals are under a mh section in these units or serving costodial scentances.

WorzselMummage Wed 14-Sep-11 09:58:39

He's a nasty bastard and deserved longer.

TurkeyBurgerThing Wed 14-Sep-11 10:02:20

Unpleasant little cunt had got what he deserves.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 10:06:52

I think jail is right, I do not see why being abusive on the internet is any different from sending abusive things in the post.

He has aspergers, and his defence said this meant he did not understand that he would upset people. But it seems to be that he went out of his way to try to upset their families - for instance on mother's day he went to the trouble to go to a girl's memorial page and wrote "help me mummy, it is hot in hell", so it was not as if he was just making random jokes which happened to upset the family, he targeted the family and in this case chose a particularly significant day to get at her mother. He went out of his way to take time and trouble to hurt the family. He also took the trouble to find memorial pages, he was not just randomly being offensive. He knew exactly what he was doing.

It was also not the first time he has been in trouble with this sort of thing, he had been given a warning previously for this type of behaviour.

cingulare Wed 14-Sep-11 10:07:54

festi, what would happen to a young person with AS who didn't have a learning disabilty - average ability is common in AS? Would an LD service/team still be involved?

I know this sort of thing varies between different areas. Here there's virtually no services for adults with ASC - health or social care.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 10:15:55

Can I just ask if his crime had not been computer related would people have been as keen to excuse it because of aspergers syndrome. I mean if he had stalked a girl, or abused an ex who left him, of if he had posted the stuff to the families etc would people have thought jail was inappropriate because he also had aspergers?

WineAndPizza Wed 14-Sep-11 10:16:24

I agree with Kelly that if he understood enough to target specific people on relevant days then he must have known that is what would cause maximum hurt - so therefore seems to have an understanding of how his actions affect people.

He said some truly horrendous things - the 'help me mummy it's hot in hell' and 'spoilt little cunt' comments being among them. I can't imagine the grief and horror and disgust this must have caused the families. He, and others, need to be shown that this behaviour will not go unpunished.

I think he knew that it was wrong considering the article says that he'd already been cautioned for similar offenses...

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 10:21:44

I think it would vary to be honest. I have in the past worked with a young man with an AS diagnosis who had a very good academic IQ so to speak, however, he was elective mute and had lived with his parents he was avery vulnerable person due to his AS, he was only involved with LD team due to the nature of his offence as it would have carried a custodial scentance, the police took a very sympathentic approach and persuaded the victim of crime not to press charges. He was then taken into the compulsory care of the LA as it was deemed that he and his family and others were at risk without stringent managment in place.

However I also know another young lad who was sent to prison as he was not deemed vulnerable. I think it depends what happens at arrest and in court. I would say that a while back the learning disability teams would take responsibility for anyone with a diagnosis, unfortunatly that is no longer the case. wich has its pros and cons.

I did some agency work at a local forensic unit and there was a mix of individuals, some with little or no significant LD to some who were very disabled.

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 14-Sep-11 10:23:02

You think his punishment was unjust????


You don't empathise with those who were distressed by his actions....who may have had nervous breakdowns or been pushed over the edge.

I think it's blooming marvellous.
Bout time people were made to account for their nasty, scummish, bullying behaviour online.

We will see a lot more of this sort of thing in time to come (I reckon) and it's a good thing.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 10:25:34

It's an incredibly tough call. Whilst his Aspergers could mean a lack of empathy the fact he had been cautioned previously against similar behaviour does point to him wilfully continuing.

If he was unable to grasp the concept of his behaviour being wrong despite the cautions then perhaps measures should have been taken to ensure he was not able to have the kind of online independence that meant he could do this. Close supervision perhaps.

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 14-Sep-11 10:28:10

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 10:30:43

well, exactly PeneloPee. being cautioned for similar offences previously does not mean he got any support in a) understanding what he was doing and how it was wrong or b) help in not re-offending.

I think a lot of posters here are not realising the absolute extremes of non-empathy that can manifest with Aspergers. it is entirely possible that he coudl do those things, on specific dates, seek out a range of similar families and tragedies - all without actually realising or knowing what distress he was causing.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 10:31:07

'what so called condition he has'

Did you mean that to sound so ignorant and bigoted?

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 10:31:30

"so-called condition", sausages? are you implying that aspergers does n ot exist as a diagnosable condition?

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 10:31:53

sausages, you do realise that's an incredibly prejudiced view?

cingulare Wed 14-Sep-11 10:33:54

thanks, festi thats really interesting.

Mitmoo Wed 14-Sep-11 10:36:06

I don't think jail will make any difference to be honest. With or without AS only a person who is suffering from some kind of mental health issue could get anything from those awful distressing messages. Something should be done to find out why he sent those message and then work done to correct his thinking.

Jail will just mean he'll come out the same as how he went in. This troubled man needs "fixing" and if it is AS related depending on the severity on the scale obviously, then they can learn what is hurtful though it can well be a longer process.

Very hurtful stuff but my question would focus on why he did it and how to stop him thinking it's acceptable.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 10:36:48

AS is a mental health disorder though surely?

startAfire Wed 14-Sep-11 10:36:53

Message withdrawn

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 10:37:19

Silverfrog I understand what you're saying, but is it not also possible that he got the help but still couldn't/wouldn't accept what he was doing was wrong? From what people have been saying it sounds like it is possible that even with official cautions etc he might have disregarded any advice and not forseen the consequences of repeating his actions.

If he's been previously cautioned for similar offences it sounds like the police/CPS did take the fact that he has Asperers into account but simply ran out of options. What do you do when someone repeatedly breaks the law and all non-custodial options have proven ineffective?

Empjusa Wed 14-Sep-11 10:38:51

As far as I'm aware, Asperger's doesn't involve being deliberately cruel. Not understanding emotions/consequences sure, but going out of their way to create nasty videos etc. I feel that attempting to justify his behaviour by blaming it on the Aspergers is unfair on other people with Aspergers.

I'm glad the police and courts have taken this seriously

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 10:41:17

Marginally surely if that was the situation he shouldn't have been afforded the level of independence he had as if he was disabled enough by his condition to not be able to grasp how very wrong he was then that would bleed through to other areas of his life?

If he was just a nasty piece of work that happened to have AS then that's another matter.

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 10:41:21

Well thought out post by sausages there hmm. I presume she is on this guys psych team and knows for a fact that he doesn't have AS (if it even exists) and that his actions were deliberate and thought out.

Of course everyone empathises with the family - it is awful what he has done, and the affect it has, but the fact that he has AS means that jail is unlikely to cure him (and if he comes out to the same type of life, living alone, not having any social intercourse etc etc, he may well do other awful things).

People who have social impairments like AS have to be taught what is acceptable and what isn't. Many people with AS have obsessions and compulsions (the example kelly gave above about stalking etc is something that does occur with AS - in fact there is a poster on here who is having terrible trouble trying to teach her son not to follow around a collegue he has been obsessed with), the answer is to teach them how to control their compulsions. Simply saying "stop" won't work - it would be like telling someone in a wheelchair simply to get up and walk hmm.

Of course he should be stopped, but I do think that there might be more imaginative and more effective ways of doing it. He should at least be going for some sort of counselling, including social stories, to try to change his behaviour. Otherwise he gets out in 18 months and will just carry on sad.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 10:42:59

Narky - I would find it highly unlikely that he got any help with developing his social awareness and empathy skills, tbh (purely form an insiders perspective - my dd has ASD, my brother has HFA/AS - there is very little help out there even while at school, if there is no learning disability especially, let alone once you have left school and are "out there" on your own)

Empjusa: if he is not capable of understanding the situation fully, and unable to empathise with his victims, then by extension he is not doign it to be deliberately cruel. He may not have understood the videos were cruel and nasty.

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 10:43:43

just to add I think that AS should be covered within the law a stand alone just like LD and MH are. as many health trusts and social services play tennis with many individuals dispite "partnerships" before support if any is provided.

The only thing that supports, protects individulas is the mental capacity act, however it is not specific enough and terms of assesment seems to serve a purpose of non intervention rather than Intervention...That is my opinion only wink

Empjusa Wed 14-Sep-11 10:47:50

"Otherwise he gets out in 18 months and will just carry on"

The article says 18 weeks rather than months.

I think the more effective part of the sentencing is probably the social networking ban (if they can enforce it).

It'd be interesting to know whether they tried any other measures to stop him when he was previously cautioned, and I suspect the jail time is much more for the benefit of the families he has been tormenting. I imagine they'll be grateful for the break.

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 10:50:53

Actually the people I would be really angry with (and I'm sure there are a fair few of them about) would be the people who looked at his videos and comments and encouraged him.

Sometimes lonely vulnerable people get carried away by the attention that comes from doing something like this, and the instant satisfaction gained from the reaction, which would lead them to do terrible things.

And again, I stress, I am not defending what he did in any way at all - I can't imagine how utterly awful it was for the families of those who died.

cingulare Wed 14-Sep-11 10:51:20

would like to back up startfire silverfrog MNP and others here.

i'm also, curious to know why sausages needs to refer to AS as ''a so called'' condition.

AS is irrefutably a mental health disorder

the trouble with this sort of 'political' sentencing is that it satisfies certain people but does nothing to solve the problem or prevent it happening again.

best example was people wanting to believe that the yorkshire ripper was 'evil' and should be imprisoned despite all the evidence that he was suffering from schizophrenia. he was quietly transferred from prison to broadmoor after the media fuss had died down,

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 10:52:50

AS is a mental health disorder though surely?

No it isn't. It's a difference in cognitive function. We process information differently that's all.

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 14-Sep-11 10:56:38

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 10:57:18

I can accept that social networking sites are possibly the worst place for someone who has trouble seeing what is outside of acceptable social interaction. Facebook is full of vile groups that post cruel, bigoted, hateful stuff about celebs, ethnic groups and individuals.

There is a huge amount of sick, nasty stuff on networking sites and for someone who can't see the boundaries clearly, it might be hard for to see why what he did was so different to people posting horrible jokes about tragedies or celebrity suicides.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 10:58:05

Absolutely there is cognitive impairment, but there are also mental health issues associated in some cases. Mind you given the spectrum is so broad every single case is completely different.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 11:01:05

The appropriate way to deal with trolling is to contact MNHQ.

Just sayin'

On a totally different topic, we can PNG people.

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 11:03:13

Yours wasn't an opinion sausages - you stated that you knew his behaviour was contrived, and you questioned whether he had AS. What do you know that we don't? Do you know him?

Just because I have some sympathy with him doesn't mean I think that what he did was right or justified, or that I don't sympathise with the families. Read my posts before you jump on your high horse.

And if you continue to refer to AS as a "so-called" condition you are showing complete ignorance of the matter.

chill1243 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:05:06

He needs help But it needed sorting

LeninGrad Wed 14-Sep-11 11:06:48

Perhaps if as a society we acted to stop bullying from the off one of the girls wouldn't have killed herself in the first place and he might have got early intervention and closer supervision to make sure he didn't act the way he did after that event. All this starts from the earliest school and family experiences. We don't do enough to protect and support everyone as a society.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:09:13

Aspergers does not mean you are nasty, stupid or cruel. I know several people with aspergers, they are all kind, and each one has a phd. They are just rather socially inept. We should not assume that he is some incapable idiot not aware of consequences simply because he has aspergers. I know engineers with aspergers, and they are well aware of consequences, they could not do their job otherwise. People here seem to be assuming that as he has aspergers the courts obviously messed up, but I think the courts, and especially his defense, made an assesment of his condition to guage its severity. His defense only used the fact he had aspergers to try to lighten his sentance, and did not go for an insanity plea (insanity does not mean crazy in a legal setting, it means not responsible for his actions), so they obviously realise dhis conditin was not that severe.

He went out of his way to target the family, upset them and target them on specific days, how could he not know what he was doing especially when the family asked him to stop and he replied nastily. he had a really good understanding of how people reacted to his behaviour. He was doing it to be cruel, and he was certainly made aware before he was arrested that he was being cruel and told to stop. It seems the only consequences of his actions he did not understand would be the consequences to himself, but that is the same for most criminals. He fully understood he was hurting people.
Someone on here mentioned that he might have thought the law stupid and should not be applied to himself. That is not an excuse. Most serious criminals think they are above the law, we cannot just excuse them for it. If someone raped a woman should he get off because he thought it was wrong that he could not have sex with who he wanted when he wanted? Where do we set the limits?

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 11:12:25

Absolutely there is cognitive impairment

Really? It's a cognitive difference, not a cognitive impairment. I can do complex maths calculations instantly in my head. Can you? I can read a non-fiction book and remember every single thing in it for the rest of my life. Can you? My hearing is so finely tuned that I have perfect pitch and can hear things that others can't. Can you? My focus and attention to detail is above and beyond anything that an NT can image, so much so that I get paid juge sums to proof read international scientific papers. Could you do that? So who has the cognitive impairment?

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 11:12:27

sausages - people are taking issue with you apparently calling Asperger's Syndrome a "so-called condition" - and asking you to clarify if you don't believe in it as a real condition, or whether you meant that you didn't necessarily believe this man has it - could you clarify please?

What is the difference between what this boy did and all the Princess Di jokes/image alteration etc etc.?

video so acceptable it carries adverts


Were these people jailed? Nope. Why is what they did any different? It is different, but can you even explain why?

Can you expect a child with difficulties in social behaviour to understand the difference?

AitchTwoOh Wed 14-Sep-11 11:13:31

interesting point, lenin. what kind of sentence did the people who bullied the young girl into killing herself get? i mean, of course it's bad to troll a grieving family, but to bully someone to the point of suicide is worse, i'd have thought.

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 11:13:54

huge, not juge. Doh!

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 11:14:34

I agree kelly2000, I think the question of his jail term should really only apply to any possible vulnerability in jail.

AitchTwoOh Wed 14-Sep-11 11:15:35

loving kladd's attitude. grin

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 14-Sep-11 11:16:40

Yours wasn't an opinion sausages - you stated that you knew his behaviour was contrived, and you questioned whether he had AS.

Of course it was an opinion...and WRONG I said that I was sure his behaviour was contrived...
Also wrong re saying that I questioned whether he had aspergers.
I didn't. Please do not put words into my mouth....for your own reasons! hmm

I don't have all day to sit on a forum answering your this will be my last response to you.

kelly an excellent post......completely agree with you

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 11:18:02

Agree Kelly2000 that people who have Aspergers do not necessarily behave the way this man has done. This is an extreme that probably has a lot to do with his personality and alcohol consumption (mentioned in the article and obviously likely to disinhibit and impair judgement) as well as the fact that he has Aspergers.

I also think that you can only help an adult who accepts help. All the social skills/awareness classes in the world won't help if he refuses to attend/co-operate. He probably hasn't been offered much in the way of tailored support, but setting aside the other issues he is a heavy drinking 25 year old man. No-one can make him listen.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 11:21:08

Kladdaka I can answer yes to quite a bit of that.
Again I'll reiterate the spectrum is so large that what is true for you may not be true for others.

Sausages you questioned AS as a diagnosis in itself in your post. Whether or not you actually intended to do that I do not know, but you were called on it on that basis and it was quite correct.

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 11:24:49

*Kladdaka I can answer yes to quite a bit of that.
Again I'll reiterate the spectrum is so large that what is true for you may not be true for others.*

Like any broad group of people they will have different strengths and weaknesses. The point was that saying 'absolutely there is cognitive impairment' about AS is ignorant and offensive.

Prison was the right thing.

I hope he also gets the help he needs, but what he did to those families at the most traumatic times of their lives is beyond cruel, and for their sakes he has to serve a prison term. He has caused harm and the families of his victims will need to see that his actions have been taken seriously.

There are thousands of trolls out there, we get them on here, and I've seen them on facebook and on SANDS. There's one woman who has made up dozens of miscarriages, stillbirths and neo-natal deaths under several different fake identities and caused a lot of hurt and upset to genuinely bereaved parents. And others again on facebook who set up pages to tell jokes about dead babies and children. One group managed to get hold of a photograph of someone's stillborn son, someone I know from SANDS, and photoshop a clown costume onto him to use it as the groups profile page. She is devastated by that.

Not all of those trolls will have special needs, some of them will just be vicious bastards. This man has been given an 18 week prison sentence and that seems quite lenient when you consider the extremes he went to, stealing and defacing photographs, abusing a woman on mothers day, making vile you tube videos, etc.

To choose mothers day, of all days, to abuse a grieving mother shows that there was calculation in what he was doing, if not genuine understanding.

It's people like him that have stopped me from ever sharing my photographs of my daughter with my friends on the internet. I would be destroyed if they fell into the wrong hands and a man like him was able to abuse her through them.

I think his sentence is lenient because of his AS, but his AS should not give him a get out of jail free card when the damage he has caused has been so great and so terrible.

He needs help and yes, he needs compassion, but he also needs to be in prison, as does anyone else who commits this sort of vicious abuse on grieving families. There are still trolls who are commenting on poor Natasha MacBryde and calling her Tasha the Tank Engine. That's happening because of what he did, and hopefully his sentence is a message to them that they will be the next to face the courts if they do not stop and that there are no excuses or reasons good enough to stop a prison sentence for something so cruel that causes so much pain.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:27:41

I think the difference was that he targeted the families. I am sure if someone sent hate mail to Prince william about his mother they would get jailtime too, and this is what this man did, accept he used social networking.
I think there is a problem in the UK with sentancing disparity however. For instance charlie gilmore got 18 months for swinging on a flag on the cenotaph for thirty seconds, whilst a man who through a brick through a car window injuring a toddler got 12 months, rapists can get off with cautions, and some ring leaders of a childpornography network got 12 months!

chill1243 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:28:34

yes, Kelly yours is a very thoughtful post.

The sentence I suppose is a deliberate deterrent sentence; partly because government are worried about freedom on message sites.

Lets face it there are excesses. I gather the young man had been warned previously. If treatment will help, I hope he gets it now. ( we must not forget that someof the families targetted will have been devastated)

It will be an influencial case, partly due to the massive publicity it has

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 11:28:54

That's what made me rethink Starlight. Social networking sites and the internet generally are full of nasty, sick 'jokes' and pure bile directed at victims of atrocities, natural disasters etc. And attacks on celebs that have died tragically. If he had posted the stuff he did about famous people or not posted on the memorial pages then he wouldn't be going to prison. Even vile/sick personal attacks on the pages of living people are unlikely to get you into any trouble. For someone who has trouble gauging what is socially acceptable behaviour that's a minefield.

I don't know how else the police, CPS and courts can deal with someone who won't stop offending though. A tailored educational programme might be the best solution but I'd imagine that such things aren't routinely available/funded and the person concerned has to want the help.

Many people with ASDs DO have mental health issues, but mental health issues are not a part of the condition.

It is more that people with ASDs are treated inapproprately, and their world is confusing and often hostile.

If this boy had no mental health problems (although it sounds like he probably did due to the drinking) then he's sure gonna get them now.

Did you know that around 15% of under 25s with High Funciton Autism/AS have succeeded or attempted suicide? This is probably caused by those same type of people that caused the poor girl to kill herself.

Additionally, jailing a person for doing something simply because he didn't have the right support throughout his life is bullying behaviour.

We need to get our priorities right.

fit2drop Wed 14-Sep-11 11:31:06

starlight but if we say things are acceptable because it was not dealt with in a previous situation we will never move forward.

If this is used as a bench mark for future harrassment/bullying etc on the internet then that can only be a good thing.

He appears more of a sociapath to me but thats just my opinion .

Kladdkaka. A brilliant and positive message from you re AS. Thank you for that.

But he didn't send mail did he. He posted them on a public site.

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 11:34:35

My belief is that he knew exactly what he was doing and he didn't care. He did it because he's a cruel person and it has nothing to do with his AS.

I spend more time on a large international forum for people with AS than I do on here. I've been a member for many many years. In all that time I have not seen any of the meaness and bullying type behaviours common to other forums. It is the friendliest, most tolerant understanding forum I've come across. We know what it's like to be on the receiving end be it in real life or online probably better than most.

fit, I don't think anyone is saying it was acceptable, or that it should not be dealt with.

What I am saying, is that the boy shouldn't have been bullied for his ASD.

There are other appropriate ways of 'dealing' with him. There is nothing to suggest he wouldn't agree to 'help'. Certainly if he was given a choice of prison OR 'help'.

filibear Wed 14-Sep-11 11:39:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 11:42:42

Kladdaka can't speak absolutely though. AS differs so vastly, it's almost its own spectrum in the same way there is also an autism spectrum.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 11:45:01

His behaviour is not acceptable and it that it might be caused/aggravated by his having Aspergers doesn't mean that it can be excused.

The best option would have been him getting support as a child but that chance is gone. The next best option to me would be an internet ban and some form of intensive residential course to help him see the boundaries he's crossed and deal with his drinking. Incarceration but not in prison IYSWIM. Even if this were available though there is a chance that he might not have accepted it.

Prison without rehabilitation is about punishment and possibly a deterrent against future wrongdoing. If Aspergers is preventing him from appreciating consequences then imprisonment won't have a deterrent effect. So all you'll get is a man released in 9 weeks or less with even less grasp of acceptable social interaction (after time in a prison environment) and possibly having lost his home. That's hardly going to improve his drinking or his future behaviour.

cingulare Wed 14-Sep-11 11:46:40

takethisone I hope that your poor friend has reported to the police as well as facebook.

Thank you filibear.

I admit I don't know much about AS, and probably what I think I do know is wrong, but I do know a lot about grief and the hurt that abuse like this can cause.

And for that reason I really do think that there comes a point where we have to say that if someone cannot or will not stop doing something so harmful, something that is causing maximum pain to so many people, then sooner or later the authorities have to step in and act.

There are guidelines within the law to assess if someone is able to stand trial and face prison, or be removed for more specialist help.

There will be lawyers acting for this man who can tear his conviction to shreds if those guidelines and procedures were not followed.

So he must have been found fit to stand accountable for his actions and that is good enough for me.

EightiesChick Wed 14-Sep-11 11:49:51

Kelly2000 excellent posts.

Of course these matters should be considered on a case by case basis rather than making blanket judgements about what all people with AS are supposed to be like. But from the details available it seems he had clear intent to cause pain, and that therefore he also understood the consequences of his actions (mental anguish and suffering), therefore he should have to face significant consequences himself. Having said that, there also needs to be an effort at rehabilitation. The Guardian report (linked in the OP) says he spent most of his time at home alone drinking. That isn't going to encourage anyone, regardless of their neurological state, to live a productive and happy life. He needs to be encouraged to find another way to live.

Given that Kladdkaka has given us an excellent example of the capabilities of some people with AS, can we also avoid the infantilising as a way of excusing this? Various posts have referred to this person as a 'boy' or 'young person'. He's 25. The assumption seems to be that having AS automatically makes someone a 'young' person and therefore vulnerable on that score. His condition may account for some of his behaviour but let's be clear on the age front: he's not a 'boy'.

noddyholder Wed 14-Sep-11 11:49:56

This is what people with SN and mental health issues are up against.sad

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 11:52:46

If it was the first time then perhaps I'd be more likely to believe it was the AS.
Being as he's been warned before though..... not so much

This is what grieving families are up against. sad

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 11:55:50

I've just had a look at the comments on the aspie forum about this case and the consensus is disgust at what he did and anger at the playing of the AS card and the impact that will have on others with AS.

filibear Wed 14-Sep-11 11:58:25

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silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 11:59:12

PeneloPee: I can tell my dd a million times a day not to do something. until I tell her what to do instead, and replace the undesired, unacceptable behaviour with something which is socially acceptable/desirable, then I am on a hiding to nothing.

as Maryz has pointed out: sometimes it is the attention that is needed/wanted, sometimes it is complete non-understanding of why somethign is wrong, and therefore not seeing a need to correct that behaviour.

but simply telling him that his previous actions were wrong, and not to do ti again, while not educating him on how to interact appropriately, or how to tell the diffrence between his nasty videos and the other nasty videos that otehr people make which go unpunished - that is not going to work (as, potentially, has been proven)

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 12:02:22

People can be divided up into groups according to sex, skin colour, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, IQ, SN, talents and skills, height, weight etc. Every group will contain some people who are just shitty. This man may well be a shit.

ThePosieParker Wed 14-Sep-11 12:05:22

Wasn't he autistic? I would like to hear more information on how this may affect his behaviour before condemning him, whilst I fully condemn his actions.

cingulare Wed 14-Sep-11 12:06:55

''This man may well be a shit.''

Well. Since none us have seen the psychology/psychiatric reports or probation/SW reports no-one here can really say if that's true or not.

ThePosieParker Wed 14-Sep-11 12:07:09

I think he should be banned from any social networking all together or have to give his PC to a company for investigaiton every four months/1 month.

cingulare Wed 14-Sep-11 12:09:03

ThePosie I think you might find it helpful to read the link and then the thread, maybe?

ilovesprouts Wed 14-Sep-11 12:09:29

no i think it serves himself right

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 12:09:51

yes, Narky, it is possible.

as everyone on this thread has agreed. and there is also agreement that what he did was abhorrent, and there is no suggestion he should go uncorrected.

but, from knowledge I have on how people with spectrum disorders are treated, both in daily life and in dealings with the police - I find it highly unlikely that his As was taken into account in the way it shoudl have been. It is far more likely that just about eveyone who had dealings with him has thought the same way as the majority on this thread, namely:

As does not mean unkind
AS does not mean unintelligent
He must have understood what he was doing as he had done it beofre
My brother/child/I have AS and I do not do this, therefore he must just be a shit to do this.
and so on.

There is no precedent for how to deal with this. and there is almost certainly no policy for how to deal with this man, and others in similar situations, and how to even begin to start educating him. he will most likely have been failed throughout his life (otherwise why is he living alone, drinking most of the day and not understanding social norms to the degree that he is doign what he did?), and will continue to be failed.

while those around him clutch their skirts in horror at what "those people" can do, and the general public specualte that "AS is not an excuse, he knew what he was doing", all the hwile demonising and belittling a very debilitating (to some) disorder.

<not aiming any of that at you, jsut a general post>

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 12:13:04

What I'm saying is that it's possible that his Aspergers was at least partially to blame for his lack of judgement (added to the alcohol) and that he may be a shit too. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

WhollyGhost Wed 14-Sep-11 12:14:01

I wonder how his family feel? If he were my brother or son, I think I would be glad of the jail sentence and hope that it was a chance to get him sober and give him a chance of rehabilitation.

How else do you get through to someone who has ignored a caution and spends his days home alone drinking?

Apparently he was diagnosed with Aspergers at a young age. I haven't got time for a long post here but would like to say that I agree with MaryZ pretty well word for word throughout this thread.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 12:17:33

no, you are right.

but I stand by my post - I doubt tha the extent to which he is disabled by his AS was not even thoguht about, let alone fully investigated. and I expect that there was a lot of "well, he is clearly a highly intelligent person - look at what he was able to do" type thoguhts. which may have resulted in a glossing over of his difficulties.

It can be extremely hard ot gauge how much a person is affected by ASD. and it can be equally hard to even begin to imagine living with that level of incomprehension, lack of empathy, misunderstanding of the way the world works. I have lived close by it all my life, and can still be floored by omehting my brother (or my dd, if it comes ot that) does or says which highlights jsut how little s/he understand what is actually going on, despite (my brother especially) being seemingly in full control, high funcitoning etc.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 12:18:07

x-posts - my post was answering Narky's last post.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 12:20:00

Whollyghost: I would only be glad if it came along with a proper rehab plan, with full education and social stories etc as MAry has already described.

I doubt it does.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 12:24:00

I get that SilverFrog. I just think that it's a tricky situation. If he has that level of incomprehension, lack of empathy etc then it might be very difficult for him to see that he needs help or should change his behaviour.

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 12:25:41

I know this is barely relevant but I hadn't heard about Charlie Gilmour and his name rang a bell so I googled and he was jailed for 16m, but not just for swinging on a flag! He also jumped on the bonnet of a car in Prince Charles' convoy and hurled a rubbish bin at it, and smashed a window, all while out of his head on drugs and alcohol. So I just wanted to say that while the rest of Kelly's post was great, that one bit wasn't accurate and perhaps shouldn't have been included. Still not as bad a child porn or causing bodily harm to a toddler though.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 12:26:03

oh yes, quite agree. that is a difficulty, and a common one.

maybe he should ahve been ordered by the court to attend social rehabilitation, in much the way that drunk drivers have to attend alcohol awareness courses, or safer driving courses etc?

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 12:27:28

I believe though if they used the AS for his defence then the degree of that and its effect on his behaviour should have been used when deciding sentencing.

Perhaps that is the case with this one. Perhaps not, nobody knows the minutae of the story.

Mitmoo Wed 14-Sep-11 12:27:59

It's not uncommon for people with mental health issues of many different kinds for them to self medicate with alcohol. When people with AS reach adulthood there is very little the family can do without the person's co-operation in all honesty.

A friend of mine has a son who is severely mentally unwell but he can't even be told if he is not taking his medication, even though my friend has to do all of the clear up after a meltdown and is the next of kin.

I'm not sure the family would be relieved though Wholly, there are so many things that a person with AS couldn't cope with, whle they are all different I'd imagine the noise, being confined, having communication difficulties, unable to make friendships easily, not coping with any change at all, so changing all routines, living environments etc would probably be very traumatic.

I think like others there should be answer to this that doesn't involve jail, even sectioning him would be better to get him the help he clearly needs.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Wed 14-Sep-11 12:33:40

I agree with you that ideally he would have had that kind of help when he was first cautioned. Having him present in the room whilst a course is going on doesn't mean he would take the information in though. Most adults are pretty set in terms of behaviour and if they're not willing to learn they won't. Hell, most teenagers are like that. Add heavy drinking into the mix and it lowers the chances of getting through even more. Maybe the answer is to get the help in at a much youngerage. How easy is it to get through to a NT 25 year old heavy drinking man who thinks he's right? I can't imagine that his having Aspergers would help the situation.

MrsDanverclone Wed 14-Sep-11 12:36:28

This man deserved to go to jail. The way he behaved was cruel, heartless and very wrong.
Just because he has AS might mean he initially didn't realise the consequence of his behaviour, but the negative responses he received, would have made him question his behaviour. A person with AS uses other peoples responses as a guide, to interpret the world around them.
My Dd has AS, over the years she has demonstrated many times totally inappropriate responses to various situations. She takes her cue from others or I act as interpreter. She takes on board what is being said in a clinical and detached way, but she learns from her mistake for the next time she encounters the same situation. That is the problem with AS, they rely on guidance to help with social situations they don't fully understand. This man I feel, knew exactly what he was doing. He had been previously warned, relatives had got in touch with him to tell him of the hurt and distress he was causing. This isn't because he has AS, but because he is a nasty person.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 12:37:57

yes, a course would be hopeless, was just likening it to other situations where the court orders osmehting other than a jail term.

there are ways to deal with non-compliance (and I don;t mean that ot sound as horribly Victorian as it does!). an intensive course, 1:1 with behaviouralists and counselling services would have more chance of success. but of course, there will always have to be some kind of consent and willingness to participate.

yes, working through these issues when younger is a better solution. it doens't happen. one look at the SN boards, with so many similar posts about how dc are not getting their needs met - both educationally and socially/emotionally - tells a grim story.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 14-Sep-11 12:39:03

TBH if his AS meant that he was unable to realise what he was doing was wrong, even after being cautioned for it previously, then he really shouldn't have been able to continue without supervision, and yes in that case prison would be inappropriate.

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 14-Sep-11 12:39:55

Does he have AS Maryz?

If he does I think it puts a different slant on things. Its still wrong but if he does have AS he wouldnt have proper idea of how much anguish it would cause. I know its not as simple as 'he doesnt know what he was doing' though. He did and he knew it was wrong. But would he be able to feel how wrong it was?

BUT then pyschopaths dont have the same understanding of what they do and they get banged up for their crimes.

And a lot of teenagers have a phase of empathy atrophy and can do horrible things.

What he did was a terrible thing. He should be punished and he only got 18 days.

Its a new type of crime so we dont really have much to compare it with. But if a person kept turning up to a grave site and leaving nasty comments or putting letters through a bereaved person's letter box they would have to be punished.

ThePosieParker Wed 14-Sep-11 12:40:23

Well apparently his solicitor didn't 'use' his AS in mitigation.

EightiesChick Wed 14-Sep-11 12:42:21

Father of one of the dead teenagers being inverviewed on Jeremy Vine now.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 12:42:49

woudl they have to be punished, MrsdeVere, or should they be re-educated?

I think the concept of punishing someone who has not even fully understood the crime is a bit ott. but agree that they need ot be stopped.

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 12:50:08

Going back to what Troisgarcons said early on in this thread, apparently his father had made his name doing parodies and had set up a fake twitter acount taking the mick out of Cheryl Cole - if his father's sense of humour was mostly based around taking the piss out of other people, then it would have skewed this man's attitude to what was acceptable as well and he could have just thought he was being funny in the same way that his Dad was.

Still doesn't excuse the response when one of the families contacted him to tell him he was hurting them though - that's what makes me think he is just nasty. But again (and I admit I'm doing a bit of Devil's advocacy here) perhaps he asked his Dad's opinion and his Dad said "nah they just can't take a joke son, you carry on". OBVIOUSLY I have no way on earth of knowing whether or not that might even have been a possibility - but it might have been this man's "normal".

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 12:51:07

MrsDV - 18 weeks, not days.

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 14-Sep-11 12:54:28

It would depend on what we mean by 'not understand' IYSWIM.

If we take a person with SLDs we could assume that they did not understand that throwing a brick at someone was wrong and it would be wrong to punish them even if they killed that person.

But if we have someone with HFAS who knows that to throw a brick at someone wrong and it could kill them but does not know how that person will feel or how their family will be affected by it - what do we do then?

And how do you educate someone with AS about other people's feelings? You can tell them the rules and explain it but you cant make them feel it.

I dont know much about this man in this case as I have deliberatly avoided reading about it. Its a subject I find difficult. It is like a kick in the head when someone does what he did.

I dont actually think many people would fully understand the impact it has on families tbh.

But do those thugs who bully disabled people really understand what they are doing? Do they really think that the person might kill themselves because of it? If they do they must be evil. I get the impression that most of them are stupid and ignorant and dont have a clue what they are doing or even why.

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 14-Sep-11 12:55:58

Oh ok - like I said, have been avoiding it a bit.

LeninGrad Wed 14-Sep-11 12:59:04

We don't seem appalled that young people kill themselves because of bullying and I don't understand why not. I guess I'll see the initiatives as DS1 moves through the school system. I hope they exist and that loads of work is done in this area for all.

reallytired Wed 14-Sep-11 13:01:49

People with autism or AS need boundaries. Essentially what he did was sent extreme hate mail.

If he has no empathy he needs to know that if he does X then negative consequence Y will happen. In special schools children with autism/ AS certainly get punished if they break the rules. A child with a low IQ learns that if he bites a TA he is punished. It does not matter that the did not realise the TA has nerve endings and that being bitten hurts. Eventually he learns to connect the punishment to crime, but may need social stories. He learns it is a bad idea to bite a TA, even if he does not care about causing pain.

I think the jail term will make him sit up and realise he cannot behave like this. It is the right decision.

reallytired Wed 14-Sep-11 13:04:37

Its not the first time

"Duffy had been cautioned for a similar offence in 2009 and Whiteford said he lived an isolated life and had himself been bullied at school and work."


punishment has to fit the crime. a jail sentence is not linked to this young man's behaviour. An internet ban for a period of time is.

WhollyGhost Wed 14-Sep-11 13:10:48

So Natasha McBryde was driven to suicide at 15 by cyber bullying.

Does anyone know if those bullies faced criminal sanctions?

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 13:11:54

You cannot make asusmptions about him just because he has aspergers. Maybe he has mental health issues, but his defense did not use that. Plenty of people without aspergers have mental health issues, but no-one makes assumptions that they must have these issues, and must therefore have not received support.Why behave differently towards people who have aspergers? Nothing in the information available made it appear he had been failed by social services, and had mental health issues, so why assume it simply because he has aspergers. That is just as bad as assuming someone must be stupid because they have aspergers.
And if he had harressed a living person (which as he harressed the families he did) he would also have got jailtime. Othe rpeople have received sentances for things they have said online. People seem to think that if they do something online it is a free for all and they cannot be punished. This is not the case.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 13:12:41

"In special schools children with autism/ AS certainly get punished if they break the rules."

I do not agree with that sentence. dd1 is not punished when she "breaks rules". she is corrected, yes. the correct behaviour/language is modelled for her, and she is encouraged to use that. but she is not punished.

punishment alone does not work. she needs ot know what the right thing to do is. what happens when this punishment doe snot work? what next?

people with ASD are not able to extrapolate form their situaiton they cannot leanr by example, they need ot be explicitly taught. generalising a behavior from one situation to another can be difficult. these are skills that can be taught, but they are unlikely to develop on their own.

so, let's say he does his time in jail, comes out, has not leanrt anyhitng except that he will spend time in jail (which might actually be a preferred place for him - lots of routine, predictability, and possibly getting away from difficulties in his home life, like loneliness) if he does htis again. he has not (necessarily - am aware I am specualting) learned why what he did was worng, or how to interact appropriately. so he does it again - because the need for the attention is greater than the deterrent. what happens next? more jail? a harsher sentence? where he will still not magically understand why what he did was wrong.

and on it goes. eventually a whole life wasted, through lack of understanding and education.

is this what we should be aiming for as a society?

and totally agree with lenin too. where is the shock and horror (in society at large) that children can be bullied ot the point they commit suicide. where are the 'punishments' (or re-education/rehabilitation) for those bullies?

EightiesChick Wed 14-Sep-11 13:13:50

If not then they certainly should have done. I believe other people also posted hateful messages after Duffy put his online, so they should now too be facing sentences.

Worth noting that there was nearly another death as a result of this case too - one teenager attempted suicide by overdose when she was wrongly accused of being the author of some of the messages.

I don't think you should behave differently to people who have aspergers. I think you should have a legal system that takes disability and intention into account.

I have been through the legal system myself wrt to disability issues and I can tell you for sure that there is woeful discrimination within it. I would not trust a judge to be able to take it into account and I would not trust many lawyers to understand it enough to be able to use it appropriately in a defense.

Children in special schools are not punished. Their behaviour is shaped.

That means thinking carefully about what the consequence will be in order to reduce the chances of the behaviour occuring again.

EightiesChick Wed 14-Sep-11 13:25:31

Starlight what happens if a child in that kind of school consistently resists that shaping and refuses to follow the modelling of good behaviour being offered to them? What happens then? I am genuinely interested.

Then the teacher is sent on some CPD, I would hope.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 13:28:00

you change tack, eightieschick.

as I mentioned in my earlier post - what happens if the punishment does not work? do the punishments keep getting increased and escalated as a (hopefully) bigger deterrent?

if a child is not learning something, it is the teacher at fault, not the child. and it is the teacher who has to take charge, and change the way the lesson is being delivered. not expect the child to suddenly "get it" through a series of punishments.

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 13:30:05

I think there are too many assumptions on this thread of what ASD is and how it affects individuals, there is a alot.people with AS can not....people with AS do not...people with AS are unable to.....what is missing is some people with AS. his crime or behaviour may not have been because of him having an ASD.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 13:30:39

As many have said aspergers covers a huge range of severity. The people I know with it are all functioning adults with very high levels of education, have friends, full time professional jobs, and several have partners and children. None of them have mental health issues It is insulting that some people seem to think that because they have aspergers anything they do wrong or that goes wrong for them must be because they have aspergers. It is a discriminatory assumption regardless of whether those making the assumption think they are on their side.

His legal team have not indicated he did what he did because he had aspergers, there is no reason for people on here to assume his legal team got it wrong.
As for lack of empathy, nearly all seriel killers have been found to have a lack of empathy, it is one of the feature sof a sociopath I believe, it does not excuse what they did either. He knew what he did was wrong. I think letting him off with punishment simply because he happened to have aspergers when aspergers has not been found to be the reason he behaved like this is stigmatizing people with aspergers.

festi Wed 14-Sep-11 13:33:22

x post kelly, but put sop much better than me. grin

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 13:33:58

Can I just clarify that I am not in any way claiming those with aspergers are sociopaths, I am just pointing out that a lack of empathy does not excuse you from doing something you know is wrong.
I am aslo not saying that people with aspergers are all like my friends, I was just using them to illistrate that you cannot make assumptions about a person based on the fact they have aspergers.

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 14:37:08

There is a widely help belief amongst doctors and the general population that people with AS lack empathy. Lack of empathy however is NOT one of the diagnostic criteria of AS and people with AS have been arguing that it is not true for years. Now it looks like science is starting to catch up. Research in Switzerland indicates that it's the opposite and that AS means too much empathy which causes emotional shutdown as a coping method.

LeninGrad Wed 14-Sep-11 14:40:14

Now, that really is interesting. I watch this with DS1 (HFA/AS) and it's exactly as you say there, he's hypersensitive and can't handle his reactions so he diverts or shuts down and doesn't respond appropriately. I'm similar. Of course you can learn to say and do the right things however you're feeling though, it just has to be targeted and taught more obviously than for most.

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 14:45:46

My daughter is very obviously like that too. Most of the time she appears to be just like everyone else and people do not know she is autistic. In an emotionally charged situation, such as when someone is ill or upset (or heaven forbid a cat is hurt) you can actually see the shutters come down on her face. Then she looks very much autistic and will act like she doesn't care or isn't interested.

KeepInMind Wed 14-Sep-11 14:46:55

What a vile person I think he deserves all he got

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 14:47:18

Kladdaka, that is indeed interesting! Purely for interest's sake, do you have a link to that? I'd like to pass it on to a friend smile

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 15:08:21

Thumbwitch I think this is the one. Sorry, I don't have time to read it through properly to check as I'm supposed to at least be looking like I'm trying to do my homework.

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 15:11:46

Thanks Kladdaka! I'll have to look at it tomorrow when I can get a go on DH's laptop (I have pdf ishoos hmm - don't ask - they're not simple).

I remember an awful incident that I experienced myself.

A friend was telling me that one of her friends that I did not know was out with a baby and a set of traffic lights fell into the buggy and killed the 6 week old baby.

I still can't work out quite why it happened but I giggled.

Now, I had two very young children myself at that time and I suspect that giggling was a way of distancing a reality that I really could not handle imagining. I am quite shocked at my own reaction. I certainly did NOT find it funny in anyway.

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 15:22:55

What a horrible experience for you, Starlight - all round! God, what a shock of a story that would have been though. shock

reallytired Wed 14-Sep-11 15:25:42

People with autism are capable of bad things. It is not right to allow AS to be an excuse for anything. People with aspergers can and do learn suitable boundaries with the right help. This man does not have severe learning difficulties.

It is rare for someone with autism to behave like this. It is far more common for someone with autism to be the victim of cyberbullying.

The man commited a similar offence in 2009. He knew he was breaking the law. He has normal intelligence.

At what point do you stop the bleeding hearts and think of the victims. Putting him in jail is the only sure way to stop him going on the internet.

With the right to be free comes the responsiblity to stay within the law.

I also believe he must have known what he did would be considered wrong by other people. As well as the previous caution, he also tried to cover his tracks. From today's Independent - ^"Duffy, who had posted the images using false details, was traced by police through information from his internet service provider and arrested.^" Plus, some of his offences related to video he'd made. Now I'm guessing it takes time and effort to do those, so can you really call that a problem with impulse control? Impulse is posting a comment, not making a video.

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 15:46:14

have found this on empathy imbalance - it is saying what you were saying, Kladdaka - what is very interesting is the 2nd paragraph on p 493:
"There is evidence that people with antisocial personality disorder have
strong CE ability (Blair et al., 1996; Richell et al., 2003) but low sensitivity to
others’ distress (Blair, Jones, Clark, & Smith, 1997) and happiness (Deeley
et al., 2006). Recent research also seems to confirm that a minority of people diagnosed with Asperger syndrome are callous and have both a CE deficit and a substantial EE deficit (Rogers, Viding, Blair, Frith, & Happe, 2006)."
(my bolding) where CE = cognitive empathy and EE = emotional empathy.

Very interesting indeed. Still doesn't excuse what he did, because he still caused untold distress and harm to those people - and sociopaths get put away for the damage they do to people as well - but it does provide a potential for more insight. And suggests that his brain is wired that way, so in fact a jail term may make bugger all difference to his outlook.

Pendeen Wed 14-Sep-11 15:57:35


To send someone to jail for what he did is ridiculous.

Prisons are overflowing to the extent that real criminals are being released early.

mrjellykeepskidsquiet Wed 14-Sep-11 15:59:18

I think it was right...I just can't feel any sympathy for him at all. The things he said were vile, and the way he targeted the families doesn't suggest he had no idea what he was doing.

At some point it has to be about the victims and not whatever tired old excuse the person who has caused so much harm can come up with. This is not the first time he has been warned either, and maybe he is just a nasty cunt when alls said and done.

spiderpig8 Wed 14-Sep-11 16:04:20

Of couse he knew what he was doing!

'"help me mummy, it's hot in hell".

FGS that is so calculated to cause the maximum distress possible.What a low life nasty piece of work i truly hop he has some good pasting in prison to experience a tiny % of teh anguish he has caused her parents!!

Oh, and here comes our resident offensive disablist poster.....

I'm off. Thanks for the discussion the rest of you.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 16:37:44

Not only did he write the message "help me mummy it is hot in hell", he also timed it and put it up on mother's day, so he knew exactly what sort of reaction he was after. I think a lot of people have the idea that committing a crime on the internet is not a real crime, and think they can get away with it. I remember a girl who was jailed for making a threat online whining about how it was not fair she got convicted for something she wrote on an internet page, as if that made it different.

"Recent research also seems to confirm that a minority of people diagnosed with Asperger syndrome are callous and have both a CE deficit and a substantial EE deficit (Rogers, Viding, Blair, Frith, & Happe, 2006)."

But surely a minority of people NOT diagnosed with Asperger syndrome are callous and have both a CE deficit and a substantial EE deficit?

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 16:42:06

Probably, whereyouleftit, but what's your point?

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 14-Sep-11 16:44:52

I have had friends that have had to shut down their children's memorial sites because of this sort of behaviour.

Some of the sites were years old and full of supportive messages, photos, poems etc.

They just couldnt deal with the trolling and deleted them. There were not the same anymore.

When I first opened my DD's site you could leave a message just by typing it. A year or so later it changed and now you have to do the code thing. I didnt know why until my friend said that she didnt allow any messages to go directly on her DD's site anymore and moderated all comments.

You see why this is a difficult subject for me? I have a child with ASD and a dead child whose memorial site is an incredibly important place. In the first years after her death it was even more so. I have no grave to visit and this is somewhere I could 'talk' to her.

But I wouldnt want my DS (who has ASD) being treated as someone who didnt have it if he did something he didnt really understand.

I also know the parents of children who have killed themselves due to bullying. My friends DS was only 12 and she found him. Cyber has made it even easier to get hold of victims.

Migsy1 Wed 14-Sep-11 16:49:15

Perhaps community service would have been more beneficial. Awful thing for him to do though.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 16:52:27

But are those with aspergers who are also callous, have a ce deficit, and an ee deficit this way because of the aspergers? Aspergers is not the only feature of a person. You can have someone with aspergers who has qualities and faults independent of the aspergers, their personality does not have to revolve around the fact they have aspergers. This guy has aspergers, but it does not appear he acted this way because he had aspergers, and it certainly seems he understood that what he was doing was wrong and hurtful, he was warned by the police to stop, the families asked him to stop and he sent them abusive messages in reply, he tried to hide his tracks, he put the messages up at specific times to maximize hurt i,e on mothers day he wrote messages addressed to the mothers from the victims etc. He knew full well what he was doing was wrong and was causing hurt, whether he empathised with his victims or not or gave a sod about their feelings does not make him any less guilty.
It is wrong to make assumptions about a person just because they have aspergers, or any other condition, and claiming this guy is not to blame simply because he has aspergers is making a huge assumption. He had his time in court, and his legal team had every chance to argue that he did not understand what he was doing.

reallytired Wed 14-Sep-11 16:58:09

Why do poster think they know better than the judge? I am sure he knows more details than we do.

He commited a REAL crime with REAL victims. He deserves no sympathy.

Maybe he should be in a pychatric hospital rather than prison. I hope there was a proper pychatric assessment.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 17:04:39

your post is full of assmptions, kelly.

it could also be said of his actions:

he put messages up at a time guaranteed to get maximum interest and attention
that he did not understand why it was wrong, therefore he ignored the warnings form police
there is no way (from the reports) of knowing whether he understood what he was doing was hurtful
hiding his tracks could be because it is a "normal" thing to do on the internet - have a username, multiple accounts - as Starlight pointed out earlier, by seeing what some other people were doing on eg FB, and just slightly misinterpreting the social cues, he coudl easily end up doing what he did.

the bit you hav right is that yes, he is guilty of this crime.

but the rest is speculation. you do not know any of those things to be true. and I (and other posters) have pointed out that it is entirely possible (not a certain fact) that none of the above does apply.

and yet oyu find it hard to understand that this could be the case. it is hard ot understand the complete lack of understanding that can come along with a high functioning adult with ASD. reallytired touched on another misconception - that the lack of learning difficulties = no chance of a lack of social understanding.

it can be absolutely breathtaking, the mismatch between actual understanding of a situation, and apparent understanding, or what other people take to be understanding of a situation.

no one has claimed he is not to blame. everyone is in agreement that what he did was wrong (how many times do I have to post that?). what is being discussed is whether the puishment fits the crime, in this instnce, and whether the punishment will act as the deterrent it is supposed to. and it is possible that it will not, because the punishment is thoguht out form an NT pov, with an NT person in mind. what happens when (if) he does his time, gets out and does the same thing again? same again? and again? because if he does not understand why it is wrong, he may not be able to work out how to not make similar mistakes in the future. and he may not have done it with the intention of causing hurt in the first place (which still does not make what he did ok).

There's also this, which I realise is talking about the loss of a child before it's first birthday. I don't think there has been a study on the parents of teenagers who die, perhaps there should be, but I suspect it would give similar results.

Bereaved parents die of broken heart

Some of these deaths can be linked to poor health before the loss, but many seem to factor around suicide, a decline in lifestyle due to the stress of grief (such as alcohol or drug abuse) but others are put down to grief and stress suppressing a parents immune system and making them more susceptible to disease.

The risk is highest up to ten years following the loss of a baby but is still present for up to 30 years after the loss. They believe it declines as the initial intense pain of grief subsides.

Again, this study was of parents who lost babies, not teenagers.

But I suspect the effects of grief would be the same no matter how old your child is.

And this man has dragged out the initial grief, he set up the pages and started the abuse so quickly, and dragged it out so much for these families.

His mental and physical health should be taken into account but so should theirs. It is no less important. The damage he has caused to them could take years to show itself. If he has to be punished as well as rehabilitated, in order that those families can try and heal from the pain he has caused, then so be it.

I don't know if the other people who commented on the sick pages and videos he set up have been punished, but they should be and I hope they are.

I don't know if the bullies who drove Natasha to her death have been punished, but again, they should be and I hope they are.

But even if they haven't been punished yet, it doesn't mean that he shouldn't be punished.

But the families of his victims have been punished, and will be for the rest of their lives. It would have been a slap in the face to them if he were allowed to walk free, even with a course or some form of counselling or treatment or education programme.

It's still a slap in the face that the others responsible for the nasty comments may still be free. That can only be rectified if they too are caught and serve prison sentences alongside of Sean Duffy, not instead of him.

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 17:25:12

As far as I can see, very few people have said he should NOT serve a sentence for what he did, regardless of his understanding or motivation. MOST posters on here agree that he deserves to be in jail; but perhaps what is more up for debate is how much good that will do, depending on his level of understanding.

Very few are suggesting he should not be punished - he deserves fully to be punished - the only quibble is about whether or not it will make a difference to his behaviour in the future.

(And I am falling into the Aussie trap of explaining things more than once in a slightly different way, although I usually stop at 2 instead of their more usual 3)

Xenia Wed 14-Sep-11 17:28:18

I am not sure he would have understood. Did he live with family which might have helped prevent him doing it after the warning?

I don't know if it will make a difference to his behaviour (lets hope so).

But I am certain it will make a difference to the families of his victims, and perhaps play a great part in their recovery for many years to come.

Pendeen Wed 14-Sep-11 17:34:51


Why do poster think they know better than the judge? I am sure he knows more details than we do.

You have a fair point but my comment was more about the philosophy of imprisioning someone for posting (admittedly vile) words on an internet forum.

The judge operates within the legal framework of the UK - it is that EU-derived framework with which I take issue. I believe the criminalising of radical / offensive / stupid opinions has been taken far too far.

I have no opinion on whether or not he has a real or imagined medical condition, it's just that prison seems to me to be complete overkill for such a crime compared with many other crimes.

porcamiseria Wed 14-Sep-11 17:48:11

his behavour was so vile that it deserved to be punished, end of

Sorry Thumbwitch, should have made clearer - if a minority of people diagnosed with AS are callous, and a minority of people NOT diagnosed with AS are callous, I can see no reason to assume that being callous has anything to do with AS.

Thumbwitch Wed 14-Sep-11 17:54:22

Errrr - I don't know enough about the diagnostic process, you need Peachy or someone for that, but if someone was diagnosed with low EE and low CE they might fit into an AS diagnosis anyway, so your point may be redundant (but it might not).
Of course there are callous people but they might be calculatedly callous, knowing full well what they are doing will hurt someone - these are the sociopaths. But they don't have low CE and low EE, just low EE. As it said before the bolded bit in my post.

However - I could be wrong - it's not my area, I just found that part in the article I was reading and thought it was relevant to this discussion.

Am off to bed now, not ignoring any replies.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 18:15:56

I have not made an assumptions that is just it. I have trusted that a judge and defense lawyer had more access to his medical and psychiatric reports than posters on here, including me. Other people seem to hear aspergers, and hear that that must be the reason for his actions. I have no problem with understanding that some people with aspergers have a complete lack of understanding of social interactions etc, but I also understand that this is not the case all the time, and there is nothing in the story to suggest that this is the case, therefore we cannot make this assumption based on nothing more than the fact he has aspergers. I also fail to see why the fact that he maybe decided to ignore the police warnings as he himself did not see what the problem was is any excuse. Once he was told to stop by the police he knew it was illegal, his own opinions on the matter do not count. Pople cannot be excused, simply because they think it is wrong that something is illegal.
he carried out a campaign of harressment against families of teenagers who had died. Why does the fact that he took the trouble to go to their memorial pages and write it online mean he is less guilty than if he had repeatedly posted letters saying the same things to their house. It is no less real.

Pendeen Wed 14-Sep-11 19:08:29


No more or less guilty.

No difficulty with the media used - internet, letters or any other written communication and no difficulty with the judgement per se - as I said the legal process was followed and a learned judge pronunced sentence.

Also no difficulty with someone being brought to account for their actions.

My point was, as I will say again, about the excessive extent to which the EU-derived legislation virtually forces the authorities to prosecute someone for using radical / offensive / stupid words by imprisioning them.

flippinada Wed 14-Sep-11 19:29:35

I noticed this news report this morning and am not surprised to find it on here - I thought it would be a hot topic on MN.

I see some(not all) posters are bringing up the old 'must be mentally ill' trope- well mentally ill people are far more likely to hurt themselves than other people

And kelly is getting picked on a wee bit here isn't she. But I think she's making a very valid point. Aspergers is not an excuse, is it? You (general you) may not have much or any empathy as someone who is aspergers (apols if that's not the correct term) but you still know right from wrong, don't you?

He has been jailed as a punishment (rightly, I believe) for what is a heinous offence. It's a perfectly acceptable response to what he has done.

Kladdkaka Wed 14-Sep-11 19:29:36

The question being asked here is whether a prison sentence is the right course of action for this individual. The answer to that depends on what you think the purpose of criminal sanctions should be. If you think the purpose should be to punish or gain retribution, then it is the right course of action. If you think the purpose should be to rehabilitate and change someone's behaviour, then it is the wrong course of action. I think that as a society we don't really know which of these we want, so we hover around the middle wanting a bit of both and getting not much of either.

flippinada Wed 14-Sep-11 19:32:18

It also jumped out at me that other people were joining in the abuse and egging him on.

I wonder why those people are not being punished?

It is appalling that parents who have been bereaved in this way have to suffer such hideous cruelty. Some of the post on here are absolutely heartbreaking.

flippinada Wed 14-Sep-11 19:35:48

I absolutely think it's OK and the correct course of action for someone who has done what he has to be punished.

In this case it's entirely appropriate.

flippinada Wed 14-Sep-11 19:40:10

"I think that as a society we don't really know which of these we want, so we hover around the middle wanting a bit of both and getting not much of either."

Agree kladdkaka

Maryz Wed 14-Sep-11 19:41:28

I think that just about sums it up Kladdkaka.

I don't think anyone at all is trying to justify what he has done, or say it is ok, or minimise the appalling effect it must have had on the families of the people who died. But I think most people on the thread (with one or two exceptions) also accept that he has AS, and the discussion is about whether or not that can ever be an excuse (or a reason, really, rather than an excuse) and how much of an allowance should be made for that.

I think Kladdkaka's posts illustrate just how different people with AS are, and in my opinion how they are as adults is very dependent on how they are treated as children. I have two cousins with diagnosed AS, both in their 40s. One is an aeronautic engineer, top of his field, a little bit odd and intense and sometimes hard to talk to (he doesn't do small talk, he tends to always do things his way). He is unquestionably intelligent, successful, and lives a full and happy life. The other is a loner, dropped out of school, lives in two rooms in his parents' house (which are like a Kim and Aggie programme), has never had a job and puts all his time and effort into his collection, which is valuable but which he will never sell. He spends far too much time on social networking and very strange internet sites, and sees very few people in real life, never goes to the shops. This is the type of thing he just might do, without really ever even thinking about the effect it might have - if he got admiration from his online friends, to him that would justify him continuing hmm.

My own son has AS and suffers badly from depression. My great fear for him is that he will commit suicide (he has had long periods of suicidal thoughts, and was put on "suicide watch" at school at the age of 9 sad). But my even greater fear is that he will kill someone else, because he doesn't think of consequences, or fear the future, or have any awareness of how other people think at all.

This particular guy sounds as though he lives a lonely and strange life, under the influence of alcohol, living along, very little social interaction and no-one to explain things to him. So while what he did was inexcusable, I'm just not sure that jail is the answer either, though I suppose it might help the victim's families a bit.

But don't ask me what is the answer, I don't know.

thefirstMrsDeVere Wed 14-Sep-11 19:46:34

Well I just read the article.

I cannot begin to tell you the affect that man's actions would have had on me after DD died.

I am suprised that his comments didnt push one of the parents or siblings over the edge. I think is pure 'luck' that no-one took their life as a result of what he did. Of course it wouldnt have been his fault but he could just have been what finished them off.

Just thinking about someone making those vile comments about DD is twisting my guts.

It all seems very calculated.
He is obviously a very angry individual. No one who is happy would do something like that.

shinyrobot Wed 14-Sep-11 20:03:53

I have a son with aspergers and know several young men with this condition, all affected quite differently to each other. I think in this case the sentence was correct. AS people can learn perfectly well that a behaviour is inappropriate and not to repeat it. I believe it is not the first time he had done this kind of thing. I hope he is able to get some help to deal with whatever is compelling him to do this and my heart goes out to those families who lost their precious children and then had to deal with this on top.

Voidka Wed 14-Sep-11 20:14:43

I havent read the thread, however I am smiling inside at the irony of Spiderpig getting all worked up over an internet troll - pot and kettle much??

flippinada Wed 14-Sep-11 20:30:08

Oh good god, I just read a Daily Mail link about this story <slaps self>

Now I feel like I need to wash my eyes out with bleach.

poolet Wed 14-Sep-11 20:35:18

Jesus, what a vile individual.

Aspergers or no, if he had the intelligence to do what he did, he's clever enough to know how wrong it was.

And I speak as the ex wife of someone with Aspergers who is a bastard (they're not mutually exclusive).

carernotasaint Wed 14-Sep-11 21:10:32

I think it was right to send him to jail. It should have been for longer. It will serve as a warning to other bastards who post sick and nasty comments. Some of the posters on moneysaving expert spring to mind.

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