TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Man Jailed for Britain's First 'Web Rage' Attack

Man Jailed for Britain's First 'Web Rage' Attack

Reuters News Wire (
Fri, 17 Nov 2006 12:50:42 -0600

A British man convicted of what has been described as the country's
first "web-rage" attack, was jailed for 2-1/2 years on Friday for
assaulting a man he had exchanged insults with over the Internet.

Paul Gibbons, 47, from south London, admitted he had attacked John Jones
in December 2005 after months of exchanging abuse with him via an
Internet chatroom dedicated to discussing Islam.

The Old Bailey heard that Gibbons had "taken exception" to Jones, 43,
after he had made the claim that Gibbons had been "interfering with

After several more verbal and written exchanges -- with Jones
threatening to track him down and give him a severe beating -- Gibbons
and a friend went to his victim's house in Essex, armed with a pickaxe
and machete.

Jones decided to arm himself was armed with a knife but Gibbons took
Jones' weapon away, held it to his throat and "scratched" him across
the neck.

Gibbons, who the court heard had previous convictions for violence,
admitted unlawful wounding on the first day of his trial last month.

Other charges of attempted murder and issuing online threats to kill
four other chatroom users were not pursued but could be reactivated in
future if he reoffends.

Media reports said it was the country's first case of "web-rage" and
Judge Richard Hawkins described the circumstances as "unusual."

"This case highlights the dangers of Internet chat rooms, particularly
with regards to giving personal details that will allow other users to
discover home addresses," said Detective Sergeant Jean-Marc Bazzoni of
Essex Police.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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