BNP leader Nick Griffin has sparked anger on Twitter by posting a series of offensive messages about Nelson Mandela.

Good wishes for the ailing former South African leader have poured in from around the world, as the 94-year-old receives treatment for a lung infection.

But Griffin, the MEP for the North West, faced a storm of criticism after his messages:


Nick Griffin MEP
Saint on last legs it seems. Make sure to avoid BBC when the murdering old terrorist croaks. It'll be nauseating.


Nick Griffin MEP
'Statesmen' must be judged on results not rhetoric. Before Mandela, South Africa was safe economic powerhouse. Now crime ridden basket case.

"Saint #nelsonmandela on last legs it seems. Make sure to avoid BBC when the murdering old terrorist croaks. It'll be nauseating," he wrote.

He added: "'Statesmen' must be judged on results not rhetoric. Before Mandela, South Africa was safe economic powerhouse. Now crime ridden basket case."

A BNP spokesman told The Guardian the tweets were genuine.

Twitter-users said Griffin, who faces a battle to hang onto his seat in next year's Euro elections, had plumbed new depths with his comments.

Labour MP Peter Hain, who was raised in South Africa, said it was a "nasty vicious attack".


Michael Bennett
- a towering figure in world history & an inspiration to millions. Nick Griffin - an irrelevant footnote, thankfully soon forgotten

South Africa's Mail and Guardian news website highlighted criticism of the "vile" politician.

Mandela spent a second night in hospital on Saturday.

He was admitted to a hospital in Pretoria in the early hours of yesterday in a "serious but stable condition", according to the office of the current president, Jacob Zuma.

His family was at his bedside.

People across South Africa held prayers for the former leader on Saturday and some left messages outside his home in Johannesburg.

The anti-apartheid leader became president in South Africa's all-race elections in 1994.