'US troll' probed after armed police called out to UK homes
Police are probing allegations that a US-based cyber troll has left UK families "emotionally destroyed" by sending armed police to their homes.
Gee Hussain, from Littleover in Derby, said he was woken in the early hours to find his home surrounded by officers responding to reports of a hostage.
Mr Hussain is linking his case to several hoax police call-outs in Manchester that followed online abuse.
US courts said a woman had been charged with harassment.
New Jersey Courts said Nibah Gazi, 40, of Sullivan Court in New Jersey, had been charged with one count of harassment in relation to another case.
Ms Gazi's attorney, Martin J Jennings Jr, said Ms Gazi would be denying the charge and he was "unaware" of any complaints relating to other alleged victims.
'I was shaking'
Mr Hussain, a music promoter, said a woman he believed to be Ms Gazi had contacted him via social media in September, pretending to be a major promoter in the US.
After initially liaising with her, he began to get suspicious and tried to cut contact.
He claimed she then smeared him on social media and sent abuse and threats to his mobile phone.
On 7 October at 05:30 GMT, Mr Hussain was woken by security lights outside his home and saw an armed police response unit on his drive.
"I opened the door," he said. "My hands were above my head. The police were shouting at me and I was shaking."
The police said a neighbour had claimed he was hitting his wife's head with a gun.
"I said 'my wife's asleep upstairs'. They searched my house and spoke to my wife," Mr Hussain said.
"It was terrifying. We have a quiet life here and this woman has emotionally destroyed us."
He said the police had been called to his house "more than 10 times".
Derbyshire Police confirmed Mr Hussain had been the victim of a hoax on a number of occasions and it was changing the way it dealt with such calls.
The force said it was working with police in New Jersey to pursue an alleged perpetrator in the US but had not yet pressed charges.
It said it viewed Mr Hussain as the victim of a crime known in the US as "swatting", which refers to bogus reports designed to ensure police or SWaT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams are called to an address.
'Sickening to the core'
A similar pattern of online contact followed by hoax calls targeted Rizwan Mahmood, 38, a singer from Moss Side, Manchester.
"She said I was killing a child at my home," he said. "They have come round three times in the early hours and once we were out and they smashed through my door.
"It's so worrying. I've got two sons, aged 13 and seven, and they were really shaken up."
Sangeetha Singh, 55, from Gorton in Manchester, whose daughters Aashana and Sonalia are well-known Bollywood dancers, said a troll had pretended to be her stillborn baby.
"It was sickening to the core," she said.
She said she believed there was a pattern to the abuse.
"We are all in the entertainment industry with open social media profiles so our personal details are easy to find," Ms Singh said.
She said the police told her they lacked the resources to deal with an alleged abuser based in the US.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said its officers "have been investigating a number of hoax calls over the past 12 months that are believed to have been made by one individual from the USA".
"On five of those occasions, police immediately responded as a grade-one call, after receiving information that lives were in danger," the force said.
"On each occasion, it was verified there were no concerns for people's safety and measures have now been put in place to authenticate each call made to police.
"We are working with the authorities in the USA and exploring all opportunities to resolve this issue."
Mr Jennings described the charge against his client as "an unfounded statement by some complainant who lives 3,000 miles away" and said Ms Gazi herself was a victim of harassment and had filed a complaint to that effect.