'Troll' Gordon Mullen sentenced over April Jones web abuse

Gordon Mullen Gordon Mullen admitted breaching the Communications Act

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An internet "troll" who went on the run after posting abusive remarks online about murdered Welsh schoolgirl April Jones has been ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Gordon Mullen, from Ayrshire, made the comments on Facebook after the five-year-old went missing in October 2012.

He was arrested after failing to appear in court and later admitted breaching the Communications Act.

Sheriff Iona McDonald branded his behaviour "absolutely appalling".

A major police operation was launched after April went missing near her home in Machynlleth, Powys, on 1 October 2012. Her body has never been found.

In May, Bridger was convicted at Mold Crown Court of April's abduction, murder, and perverting the course of justice. He was given a whole life term.

Offensive remarks

At Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, Mhari Mair, prosecuting, said one of Mullen's own Facebook friends alerted police to the comments he had made about the murdered schoolgirl.

Peter Murray, defending, agreed with Sheriff McDonald's remark that Mullen's behaviour was "absolutely appalling".

He added: "Drink had been taken and at the time he gave no thought to how upsetting it would be to those close to April Jones."

Sheriff McDonald told the 24-year-old from Saltcoats: "The youth of today seem to think it's okay to say whatever they like on social networks."

She said if April's family had read the comments "they would have been absolutely devastated."

Mullen's co-accused, Liam Young, 25, of Ardrossan, was given 120 hours unpaid work last month after admitting disorderly conduct by sending indecent and offensive remarks about April.

The pair had been in a three-way Facebook conversation, with each "trying to be more shocking than the other", the court had heard.

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