'Sick sadist' Paul Hind trolled grieving families

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Image source, PA
Image caption,
Paul Hind will be sentenced next month for conveying false and indecent information

An internet troll described as a "sick sadist" has admitted posting offensive material about a woman who was crushed to death outside a Durham nightclub.

Paul Hind, 38, called Durham University student Olivia Burt, 20, a "sex worker" and "prostitute" on Facebook.

Miss Burt, from Hampshire, died outside Missoula in Durham City on 7 February from a "serious head injury".

Hind admitted conveying false and indecent information at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court.

The court was told Hind, of Westacres in Wark, Northumberland, also doctored an image of Miss Burt and posted pictures of "clearly terminally ill" children on her Facebook page in April.

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Olivia Burt died outside a Durham nightclub earlier this year

Miss Burt's father Nigel described Hind's actions as a "desecration" of his daughter's memory.

In total Hind admitted four separate offences of conveying false information which was indecent or grossly offensive, relating to Miss Burt, from Milford-on-Sea, and three other dead people.

They were Leicester's Joe Tilley, 24, who was found dead at the bottom of a waterfall in Colombia in May, 19-year-old Duncan Sim, from Duns, in the Scottish Borders, whose remains were found at West Sands in St Andrews earlier this year and Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Hemsby, Norfolk, who was killed on the Thai island of Koh Tao in 2014.

Mr Burt said the postings had made him and his wife Paula feel "physically sick".

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Nigel and Paul Burt said Hind's actions made them feel physically sick

He added: "The person who carried out this trolling can only be described as a sick sadist who knows that they are adding to our anguish and gets enjoyment out of this.

"Even though the Facebook posts have now gone, we keep expecting them to reappear on some other social media platform.

"This is causing us continuing anxiety and distress."

District Judge Kate Meek, sent the case to Newcastle Crown Court for sentence on 27 September and praised Miss Burt's family for sitting in on the proceedings.

Speaking outside court after the hearing, Hind said he was "deeply sorry" for his actions and that he was suffering from mental health issues and had acted "for attention".

He added: "All I can say to the families for the actions I have committed is sorry, that is all I can say - sorry.

"I don't expect them to accept any apology from me whatsoever for what I have done.

"I have to be punished accordingly for causing people the anxiety and the stress I have caused them, there's no question about that."

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