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29.8.09

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A British teenager became the first person to be jailed in the country for bullying on a social networking site after posting a death
threat on Facebook. Keeley Houghton, 18, cried as she was sentenced to three months in a young offenders' institution after pleading guilty for harassing Emily Moore, the Telegraph reported. She was also given a restraining order banning her from contacting Emily in person, via the internet or in any other manner for five years.

District judge Bruce while convicting Houghton said, "Since Emily Moore was 14 you have waged compelling threats and violent abuse towards her. Bullies are by their nature are cowards, in school and society. The evil, odious effects of being bullied stay with you for life. On this day you did an act of gratuitous nastiness to satisfy your own twisted nature," he said.

Houghton had posted she would kill Moore, whom she had bullied for four years since they were at school together. People have previously been jailed for harassment and stalking on social networking sites but she is first to be jailed for bullying via the internet, the newspaper said.

Two days before making the threat Houghton had approached Emily as she enjoyed a quiet drink with her boyfriend in The Vault Inn Pub in Malvern, Worcs, and put her arm around her. Sara Stock, prosecuting, told Worcester Magistrates Court: "When Emily was sitting on her own the defendant came over and sat next to her and asked her 'Are you Emily Moore? Can I have a huggle?'."
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When Moore told Houghton, who is unemployed, to leave her alone or she would call the police, the bully replied: "I'll give you something to ring the police about." The court heard Houghton, of Malvern, had victimised Emily for four years and had two previous convictions for her vendetta.

In 2005 she was convicted of assaulting Moore as she walked home from school and was subsequently expelled from school. Two years later, she was convicted of causing criminal damage to Moore's home after kicking her front door.

The court heard Houghton claimed she wrote the death threats while she was drunk late at night and had no memory of it. But when police examined internet records they discovered Houghton wrote the comments at 4pm on July 12 and kept them on her Facebook page for 24 hours.

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