Essex

Lee Rigby internet troll spared jail

Fusilier Lee Rigby Image copyright PA
Image caption Fusilier Rigby, from Greater Manchester, was murdered as he returned to his barracks

An internet troll who claimed the murder of Lee Rigby was a conspiracy has been spared jail.

Christopher Spivey, of Rochford, Essex, posted a series of comments on social media saying that Fusilier Rigby's killing was made up to provoke anti-Islamic feelings.

At Chelmsford Magistrates' Court, the 52-year-old denied harassment and sending grossly offensive messages.

He was given a six month prison term suspended for two years.

Fusilier Rigby, from Greater Manchester, was murdered as he returned to his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, on 22 May 2013.

'Disturbing and sick'

Prosecutor Simon Bravey said Fusilier Rigby's mother, Lyn Rigby, was the first to be alerted to Spivey's Facebook posts.

In a statement read to the court, Mrs Rigby said she found his claims "extremely disturbing and sick".

Spivey also posted the family's home addresses and private photographs and made direct contact with the family.

He contacted Fusilier Rigby's sister, Sarah McClure and claimed her husband, Rob, also a soldier, and Fusilier Rigby were the same person.

Mrs McClure said this left her fearing that her family could be targeted by extremists.

Spivey made the bizarre claims on a website alongside expressing doubts as to whether the Tunisia beach massacre and the Glasgow bin lorry deaths happened.

Judge Woollard said: "Families are understandably distressed to have lost loved ones and then find themselves subject to these claims."

Solicitor Miss Williamson, mitigating, said that Spivey did not accept his guilt and plans to appeal against his conviction.

She added: "It may have been unpleasant but it's not at the most serious end of harassment."

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