Brenda Leyland (born 09-June-1951; died 04-Oct.-2014)
From Commentary on →Female First:
Urban Dictionary - the online world's collection of internet terms and lingo has 'troll' listed as meaning the following: “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument”. In my view, this wasn't sweepyface's aim.
…Brenda Leyland was not a troll. At least not in the original sense of the word. An online troll is - or was - somebody who used the internet to cause annoyance to other online users using whatever means possible. They didn't even have to believe in what they were saying. So long as they were getting a reaction, it's job done for the internet's most common beast. Brenda Leyland was a woman who seemed to firmly stand behind exactly what she had to say online, using her internet persona '@sweepyface'. She wasn't putting out these 'hateful' tweets or messages because she wanted to annoy, but rather because she thought that a serious miscarriage of justice had taken place at the expense of a young child, and she wanted things to be put right. Whether she is correct in what she believed is another matter entirely….
Her actions meant that Martin Brunt turned up at Brenda's doorstep and repeatedly asked questions she didn't want to answer at that moment. She was taken by surprise. Repeating that she was going out with a friend and replying “No” when asked if Martin could speak to her about her Twitter account, she was followed right up to her car and the questions continued to come until she got into the vehicle. She later invited the team inside and is reported to have explained her reasoning for the tweets off-camera, hoping that she hadn't broken the law.
It was the Daily Mail who took the chance on October 2 to “unmask” Brenda - using her full name - as one of many 'trolls' who hurl “vile” abuse at the McCann family. Though they do make sure they include sentences that show what she did and didn't tweet, they tend to tar her with the same brush they're using against anonymous users who have threatened and even posted sexually explicit messages online about the family. Not enough is done to distinguish between Brenda's messages and those of others. This was also the date that the Sky News footage was aired. A torrent of abuse was then hurled at Brenda - death threats, calls for her to be raped and abused, from supporters of the McCann family who were unhappy with her viewpoint. Will Scotland Yard be investigating these tweets? They have so far mostly gone unreported, despite being on a much larger scale of evil intent than Brenda's ever were.
24 hours after the outing Gerry McCann made a call for examples to be made of internet 'trolls' who target the family, and he insisted police should up their game. Despite none of the McCann's being on social media or reading any of the comments, they were alerted to some of the abuse being posted online about their family. Three days later, on Saturday, October 4, Brenda Leyland was found dead in a hotel room in Leicestershire.
You may see also →backup of related twitter account Sweepyface.
The Leyland-Story evolved from Martin Brunt, Skynews.
see also his opinion on McCann-case as it was in 2007: →Martin Brunt, The crime beat is hard labour now, British Journalism Review Vol. 18, No. 4, 2007, pages 33-38: “…The Portuguese police are another lot who don't want to tell anyone what they are up to. Okay, they have a judicial secrecy law, but should that have stopped them making public appeals for help in tracing a missing three-yearold? A news conference was an alien concept to the beleaguered detectives searching for Madeleine McCann, but they were eventually badgered into one. It ended in chaos, live of course, and we learned very little from it. The McCann family themselves had to issue pictures of their daughter and the pyjamas she was wearing on the night she disappeared. I have as many police contacts in Portugal as I have on Jupiter, so this was always going to be a tricky one, but you would expect to make some progress with the local cops over a glass of Mateus Rose. Yet all attempts were met with a rebuff, usually accompanied by the chewing of a moustache, the shaking of a head and the wagging of a finger (try doing all that at once). I got the message. Most of us did strike up a relationship of sorts with Olegario Sousa, the polite and charming police spokesman. When he did answer his phone he would listen to my greeting with a weary sigh, much like a tired parent prepared to tolerate just one more demand from a persistent child. He would confirm virtually nothing, so sometimes we ended up talking about the weather. One day he blamed the unusual cloudy start to the morning on the British reporters. In the end he quit; apparently even he got fed up with the hypocrisy of the official silence and the many, often bizarre, leaks to the local media. For a long time most of us ignored the Portuguese media coverage, even when the daily papers ran the first “McCanns are suspects” stories. Much of it seemed unlikely and none of it was checkable. Then, of course, the couple were declared official suspects and suddenly those stories didn't look quite so preposterous. They were after all, we decided, an accurate reflection of the police investigation. So I renewed my subscriptions to 24 Horas and Jornal de Noticias….”
The Met on the legal Leyland-case connection with the McCann family see →Radio London : The McCann Snitch Dossier / Hogan-Howe, Youtube (07 Oct. 2014)
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