BBC News

Dundee teenagers locked up for Facebook riot threats


Two teenagers who used Facebook to try to start a riot in a Scottish city have been locked up for three years each.

Shawn Divin, 16, and Jordan McGinley, 18, were administrators of a Facebook page called "Riot in the toon" which urged people to "kill some daftys".

The Dundee riot page was published during the summer's unrest in England.

Divin, who was described as an inmate at Polmont youth offenders institute, and McGinley, from Dundee, had earlier pleaded guilty to breaching the peace.

Sheriff Elizabeth Munro sentenced Divin to a total of four years and three months, which included one year for breaching a previous probation order and three months for breaching his bail by inciting riots.

The teenager had been subject to the order after he helped lead a "small scale" riot in May 2010, when a group of about 30 youths attacked a bus in Dundee.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard that the Facebook page encouraged others to smash up buildings, loot shops and attack police officers at the time of the riots which swept several English cities in August.

Police tip-off

A message on the site written by Divin, who has convictions for assault and breach of the peace, stated: "Only join if yir actually gonna come - if anyone has guns bring them down to this - kill some daftys."

Police later arrested the pair - who both claimed it had been done "as a joke".

More than 200 people signed up to the event on the social networking site - with the page telling them to go to Dundee city centre between 19:00 and 22:00 on 17 August.

Fiscal depute Lisa Welsh told the court police had been tipped off about the site by a journalist.

She said: "Police researched Facebook and found a public event posting titled 'Riot in the toon'. The two accused were administrators of the page.

"Given the civil unrest around the country an inquiry team had been set up by Tayside Police in order to respond to such threats and the likelihood of rioting in Dundee."

Other messages on Divin's Facebook page included "Show the English how it's really done" and "If it does happen are you up for takin a police guy oot the game?", Ms Welsh, the prosecutor, said.

Divin and McGinley pleaded guilty to breaching the peace between 9 August and 11 August this year.

Jim Laverty, defending Divin, who had been released from court on bail just a day before the offence, said his client should not face a jail term as long as the two Englishmen who were given four-year terms for a similar offence.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, and Jordan Blackshaw, 21, were jailed for four years over a Facebook riot page - with appeals against their sentences rejected.

Paul Parker Smith, for McGinley, who has previous convictions for carrying knives and theft, said: "Mr McGinley at the time thought it was just a bit of fun.

"He was certainly not serious about there being a 'riot in the toon'."

Passing sentence, Sheriff Munro said: "I have thought long and hard about this case.

"A total of 221 people said they would attend the riot event in Dundee - and what made your actions particularly serious was that you both referred to weapons, and Mr McGinley you referred to guns.

"This is one of the worst breaches of the peace that I have ever had to deal with."

More on this story

  • Pair face jail over Dundee Facebook riot messages