YOUNG VOICES

Woolwich Attacks: Deyka Ayan Hassan Sentenced After Tweeting People In Help For Heroes T-Shirts 'Deserve To Be Beheaded'

07/06/2013 19:02 BST

A student who tweeted that people wearing Help for Heroes t-shirts "deserved to be beheaded" as news broke of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, was arrested after complaining to police about getting threatening replies, a court has heard.

Deyka Ayan Hassan, 21, contacted officers after receiving hundreds of vitriolic responses to the message on May 22, including threats to rape her and kill her by burning down her home, Hendon Magistrates' Court heard.

But she was herself later arrested at home after admitting to police she had tweeted "to be honest, if you wear a Help for Heroes t-shirt you deserve to be beheaded" as a "joke" about the design of the item of clothing.

The English and politics undergraduate at Kingston University, who lives in Harrow, north west London, was ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work by magistrates, having admitted a charge of sending a malicious electronic message at an earlier hearing.

Chairman of the bench Nigel Orton told her she could have been jailed for what she did but that magistrates accepted she hadn't known it was a soldier who had been killed when she posted it.

"The tragic events in Woolwich that day have created a context which made this tweet appear extreme," he said.

"It had a huge impact and clearly caused offence and distress. We accept you didn't intend to cause harm and you felt it was a joke.

"Your act was niave and foolish and without regard to the general public at a time of heightened sensitivity."

The court heard that Hassan's father works in Somalia for charities including US Aid and Prevent, combating extremism.

He is also a former "associate advisor for policing diversity" to the Metropolitan Police.