Rarely do people get jail time for posting remarks on the Internet. It's the Internet — it's only virtual, right? Not for Sean Duffy, who after "trolling" the remembrance pages of several dead teenagers has been in jail for 18 weeks and is banned from using social networks for five years.
The gist of the tragic story goes like this: Natasha MacBryde jumped in front of a train and killed herself after being cyber-bullied. Sean Duffy, who has never even met MacBryde, went ahead and decided to "anonymously" — like anything we do online is truly anonymous — troll her remembrance pages set up on Facebook and YouTube.
According to the BBC and Guardian, 25-year-old Duffy called the 15-year-old MacBryde a "slut," posted on her Facebook's tribute page that she "fell asleep on the track lolz" and uploaded a YouTube video of Thomas the Tank Engine with MacBryde's face superimposed over it.
MacBryde wasn't Duffy's only victim, he trolled other targets such as 14-year-old Lauren Drew who died from an epilepsy attack, and 14-year-old Jordan Cooper who was stabbed to death.
It's believed Duffy might suffer from Asperger's Syndrome (the British courts didn't rule that he did), "an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests."
On the Internet, all news — serious or not — is made into fodder for humor (go flip through some vids on YouTube). MacBryde's young life cut short is a reminder that what happens on the Web doesn't always stay there.
CORRECTION: We said "18 months" up top, when Duffy has only been in jail for 18 weeks. We've corrected this figure.