Facebook Bully Jailed For Online Death Threats
Keeley Houghton, just like most other 18-year-old teenagers, has an account on Facebook, but she has been detained for three months in a young offenders' institution for making death threats to Emily Moore, also 18, on the popular social networking site. She is the first person in Britain to be jailed for cyber-bullying.
Houghton of Malvern, Worcestershire boasted on her Facebook profile that she would kill Moore, whom she had already bullied for four years since they attended school together. She pleaded guilty to the harassment.
On 12 July, Houghton updated her status on Facebook to read: "Keeley is going to murder the bitch. She is an actress. What a ****ing liberty. Emily ****head Moore."
Houghton was also given a restraining order that bans her from contacting Moore, both in person or online, for five years.
Other than the cyber-bullying incident, Houghton was convicted of assaulting Moore in 2005 when she was on her way home from school. In 2007, Houghton was again convicted of causing criminal damage to Moore's home after kicking her front door.
Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of charity Beatbullying, said the sentencing was the first of its kind in the UK. "Cyber-bullying is a worrying and fast-growing trend which can be more harmful than typical schoolyard bullying. However, the solution is not to limit young people's internet access and phone usage. Instead, social networking sites like Facebook, along with the Government and charities like Beatbullying, must work together to tackle the real root of the problem - the bullying itself."