21/02/2012 17:37 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Ginger Mum Beats Barnet Bullies Only For Her Childhood Pics To Prompt Facebook Bullying Campaign Years Later

Mum spent £10,000 hiding ginger hair after childhood bullying is subjected to Facebook hate campaign 30 years later SWNS

As a child Natalie Harvey was bullied because she looked like 'Orphan Annie'. Thirty years later the mother of one has been subjected once again to a cruel Facebook hate campaign - because of her ginger hair.

Natalie Harvey, 35, from Nottingham, was spat at and verbally abused by fellow school pupils from the age of five because of her resemblance to the adorable film character.

The bullying only stopped when she went to college and spent two hours every morning painstakingly straightening her naturally curly hair.

As an adult she has spent more than £10,000 straightening, dying, tonging and chemically treating her curly hair. She also owns a range of wigs.

But the memories of her childhood came back to haunt her when a picture of her aged five recently began circulating on the internet. She was targeted by vindictive cyber trolls and her Facebook and Twitter accounts were deluged with cruel comments.

The abuse became so bad that Mrs Harvey called the police, who have issued a verbal warning to one of her abusers.

One tweet read: "I can't wait to pull off your wig and reveal your ginger afro hair to everyone."

Another added: "wait until everyone sees your f****d up afro hair!"

Natalie, who lives with her husband Ian and son Hugo, said: "As soon as I entered infant school the taunts started. I would be spat at and called named. The kids were so cruel, they would call me Annie and Yoda and racist remarks because they had never seen an afro like mine on a white person.

"People said my mum must have had an affair because both she and my dad have straight hair. We just couldn't understand it. My hair was dreadful, it was a complete mess but I spent years desperately trying to cover it up and I learned how to manage it.

"I thought the bullying had stopped but then I began to get these Facebook and Twitter messages.

"They were saying such horrible things about my hair. They must have found a picture on a Facebook gallery from three years ago. It was just unbelievable.

"I couldn't believe that I was getting bullied at the age of 35 through Twitter, from people on fake accounts.'

Natalie said that when she was at school she used to dread going to school because of jeers like 'microphone head', 'buzzy' and 'Annie'.

She received dozens of messages from December 17 and called police - who verbally reprimanded one suspect - on January 7. She has now deleted her Twitter profile and increased the privacy settings on her Facebook page.

Of the reenactment of her childhood humiliation, she said: "It was so personal and nasty and targeted directly at something that has affected me throughout my life. Every time I meet someone from school they say 'oh didn't you have such funny hair at school'?

'I think something has to be done about online security. I am an outwardly confident person but this has really affected me. I lost almost a stone through stress.

'At least at school I could turn round and see who was insulting me but this is so faceless. The bullies are able to hide behind their keyboards.'

How terrible for her! It seems bullying doesn't end with the playground