Rachel is, I expect, pretty snowed under at the moment, so I’ll break the news…
June 28, 2007 10:36 a.m. EST
Susheela Hegde – AHN News Writer
London, England (AHN) – A cyber-stalker has been handed down six-month sentence for harassing a 7/7 bombing survivor through a web-log and e-mails.
Felicity Jane Lowde, a researcher in Oxford University posted hundreds of messages targeting Rachel North who survived the tragic Russell Square Piccadilly Line bombing which left 26 people dead in 2005.
Judge Malcolm Read said by carrying out a “vicious, vitriolic and vindictive” campaign by posting hundreds of messages accusing Ms North with “making a living on the backs of the dead”, Ms Lowde repeatedly struck at the victim’s terrible traumatic experience.
North, 39, who has been fighting for an independent inquiry into the 7/7 incident, said she is happy over the verdict.
However, Lowde, who has been also given a restraining order and a five-year Asbo, said she intends to go for an appeal.
Couple of points of note – the reference to Lowde being ‘a researcher at Oxford University’ is unverified and at least in part, inaccurate.
She certainly claimed to be a researcher on her blog, on numerous occasions, but was known to be unemployed for some considerable time prior to her arrest. As for her university background, she attended Oxford Brookes University, which was formerly Oxford Polytechnic and NOT Oxford University.
While a student at Oxford Brookes, she was tried (and cleared) on a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to alleged attempt to hire a private investigator to carry out a ‘sting’ on a former boyfriend in an effort to intimidate him into dropping harassment charges against her.
She was, however, convicted of harassing her ex-boyfriend and served three months in prison.
As regards her expressed intention to appeal, the law in Engalnd and Wales does not provide for an automatic right of appeal.
Lowde is entitled to apply for leave to appeal and, if she does, will attend a hearing at which she will be required to show that there a valid grounds for an appeal. Only if the court is satisfied that her stated grounds stack up will an appeal hearing be granted.
Regarding the contents of the restraining order and ASBO: –
a) the restraining order will apply specifically to Rachel, her husband and, possibly, other members of her immediate family – it is entirely up to Rachel whether or not she provides any more information on that subject.
b) as for the ASBO, if I can ascertain whether any of its terms that may be of specific relevance to bloggers and other online users, i.e. whether Lowde is subject any restrictions on her use of the internet, then I will endeavour to publish that information so that bloggers are aware of what actions may be open to them should she resurface and breach those restrictions.