‘Twitter troll’ who abused Madeleine McCann’s parents found dead

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She was informed by reporter Martin Brunt that she had been reported to the police and that officers were considering an apparent campaign of abuse against the couple by her and other online “trolls”. She responded that was “fair enough”.

Mr Brunt said he had later been invited into Mrs Leyland’s home where she told him she had questions for the McCanns but hoped she had not broken the law.

Residents in Burton Overy told the Leicester Mercury that Mrs Leyland had “fled the village” after she was photographed on Thursday afternoon.

Villagers said they were “totally surprised” to learn that she had been sending the messages but said they were “worried for her safety”.

Tweets from the @sweepyface account had said that the McCanns should suffer “for the rest of their miserable lives”.

Sky News said the tweets from the account were “not the worst” of the abuse, with other social media users posting death threats.

Mrs Leyland was widely condemned in the media.

Mr McCann told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that, while he had not seen the @sweepyface tweets, online abuse had caused his family “severe distress”.

“I think we probably need more people to be charged,” he said.

“We do not have any significant presence on social media or online and I’ve got grave concerns about our children as they grow up and start to access the internet in an unsupervised capacity.”

During a Twitter discussion session about the online abuse suffered by the McCanns, Mr Brunt was criticised by some for identifying Mrs Leyland.

Mr Brunt responded that Sky News had done so through “normal, journalistic and legal methods” and denied he had “stalked” or “chased” her.

A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called at 1.42pm on Saturday 4 October to reports of a body of a woman in a hotel room in Smith Way, Grove Park.

“Officers have attended the scene and a file is being prepared for the coroner.

“Identification of the deceased is a matter of the coroner. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

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