Online troll who threatened to kill JK Rowling and Labour's Rosie Duffield avoids jail

A man who threatened to kill Harry Potter author JK Rowling and Labour politician Rosie Duffield has avoided jail.

Glen Mullen, 31, posted "chilling" audio clips in which he threatened to kill Rowling "with a big hammer" and said he would see Ms Duffield "at the bar with a big gun".

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard the messages were published in Gaelic on X in January 2023.

Mullen, of Clyde Road in Manchester, admitted two charges of sending an article conveying threatening messages.

Prosecutors said JK Rowling believed the threats were "quite chilling".

"They made her look over her shoulder and worry about the safety of her family and her children," they told the court

Rosie Duffield, who's standing for re-election as Canterbury MP, felt "nervous walking around her constituency, where she was visible and easily accessible", prosecutors added.

The court heard Mullen gave no comment in an initial police interview, but eventually admitted the offences.

Two suspended sentences

He was given two eight-week prison sentences, suspended for two years, which means he won't be jailed unless his commits another offence.

Mullen was also told to do 150 hours' unpaid work and complete a 12-month community order that includes 20 days' rehabilitation.

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"There seems to be this modern phenomena that Twitter and other social media and online platforms allow you to say and do what you like - and particularly people in the public eye, lots of people think are fair game," said chief magistrate Paul Goldspring.

'Previous good character'

"Yes, of course free speech is important but there's also a line to draw in the sand... and you went well beyond that line."

He said Mullen, who must also pay £85 costs and a £154 victim surcharge, was a "man of previous good character" who had "strong views about gender equality".

Speaking after sentencing, CPS senior crown prosecutor John Moran said the messages had "a significant impact on the two victims, who described feeling upset, worried and distressed when they heard them".

"Nobody has the right to issue threats or abuse, whether that be in person or via social media," he added.