UK & World News
Web Troll Threatened To Kill 200 At US School
A British internet troll has admitted threatening to kill 200 people in the US in a series of terrifying messages posted on Facebook.
Father-of-one Reece Elliott, 24, of South Tyneside, posted the threats saying he was going to kill "200 people minimum at a school" on the tribute page of a 17-year-old Tennessee girl killed in a car accident.
The messages were posted amid heightened fears over school security following the Newtown shooting in Connecticut, in which 20 children were shot dead, and sparked "hysteria" across Warren County, where the dead girl had gone to school.
Warren County elementary school was shut for the day and some 3,000 pupils missed school.
Using a false name, he wrote on the Facebook tribute page to Caitlin Talley, a popular student at Warren County High School: "My father has three guns. I'm planning on killing him first and putting him in a dumpster. Then I'm taking the motor and I'm going in fast.
"I'm gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself. So you want to tell the deputy, I'm on my way."
Using the same name he posted: "I'm killing 200 people minimum at school. I will be on CNN."
Newcastle Crown Court heard Elliott's threats had caused widespread concern across Warren County and that all the schools in the area had been put on lockdown.
The FBI and Homeland Security managed to trace Elliott's user name to the Newcastle area and the US authorities contacted the local police.
Gary Buckley, prosecuting, said: "It would appear that Reece Elliott was well aware that he was wanted. He handed himself into South Shields Police Station.
"He said he was a part-time troll. He said he decided to post offensive comments to see what kind of reaction he could provoke.
"He was asked if he knew what had been going on recently and he said he was well aware of the recent incidents following the shootings in schools.
"He confirmed he did post the postings on Facebook and therefore did make these threats but he didn't expect the threats to be taken seriously and didn't expect them to cause the reaction they did."
Elliott was arrested in February and had remained in custody since.
Judge James Goss QC said sentencing would be delayed until pre-sentence reports could be taken.
He said: "You will remain in custody until the sentence hearing, as I'm sure you will appreciate the offences are serious matters.
"A prison sentence is of course the inevitable sentence in respect of these offences."
Elliott pleaded not guilty to four other counts of making threats to kill. He will be sentenced in early June.