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Saturday

 

Barrow Facebook user abused MS sufferer



























Katie McKeever, of Jarrow Street, Barrow, sent a post on Facebook to Saira Burton, who has multiple sclerosis, in which she used the word "spastic".

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge of sending communication of an indecent or offensive nature for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety at Furness Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Mr Lee Dacre, prosecuting, said: "There was a Facebook exchange between the complainant and the defendant and during that the defendant was abusive and part of that abuse was the word used.

"The complainant found that abusive and upsetting in view of the illness she suffers from."

The Facebook exchanges took place between May 31 and June 1 in Barrow, and the charge comes under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.

Mike Graham, in mitigation, said his client did not know the offensive connotations attached to the word.

He said: "She didn't realise the implications or ramifications. This case has brought that home to her and that it's an inappropriate term.

"She accepts she shouldn't have used that term."

Mrs Sue Needham, chair of magistrates, imposed a 12-month community order on McKeever, with an 80-hour unpaid work requirement.

She was also given a £85 fine, a £60 victim surcharge and a £150 courts cost charge, and told to pay £75 compensation.

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