Tag Archives: Sean Duffy

Examples of classical and Anonymous trolling

Classical trolling is that where people post to websites to be be provocative but not always intending to be offensive. Anonymous trolling is there people intend to offend others, such as by being abusive.

Type Description Classical Trolling Anonymous Trolling

TM1 – Playtime

In the moment and quickly regret This type of classical trolling is often in the moment, or otherwise intended to give the troller and others a laugh as close to the point that the troller thought of their ‘gag’. Contemporary outlets for this type of cyber-bantering include Yahoo Answers. Questions where the user protests they are not trolling usually are. The most prolific troller on Yahoo!Answers was known as ‘Phil J’ and always wound people up with his sick stories usually ending with “…it was a lot more erotic than I expected.” Reece Messer posted a tweet to Tom Daley, an Olympic diver, saying that he let his late father down by not getting a medal. When others attacked him following Tom Daley retweeting it, resulting in his followers setting upon Messer, he apologised, but this dignified and honest apology was not accepted, resulting in non-credible threats being made.

2 Tactical
TM2 – Cyber-trickery (Cyber-trolling)

In the moment but don’t regret and continue Popular ‘subversive’ websites like ‘Temple of the Screaming Electron’ (www.totse.com) would often have people go on there to ask for ‘advice’. The typical response would be ‘m/s’ (i.e. murder/suicide). A discussion might ensue on how to do this. Liam Stacey posted a tweet mocking the fact that Fabrice Muamba, a premiership footballer, had collapsed with a cardiac arrest. When others challenged him over this he became abusive, posting racist comments. It is likely he knew he was being offensive, but did not stop doing so.

TM3 – Strategic

Go out of way to cause problems, but without a sustained and planned long-term campaign Jake Baker was a student at the University of Michigan. He was suspended following posting a story to alt.sex.stories, which had graphic depictions of rape and murder of a woman he said was his classmate. With a Canadian friend Arthur Gonda he would share abusive posts about women, which they never received. The person who was the ‘victim’ in the stories, Jane Doe, was only aware when charges were brought against Baker. An unnamed troller was given a caution for abusing Bridget Agar, who was a mother of a child who died in a scooter accident. The youth posted messages on a fake Facebook page named after the child, such as “Mum, I’m not really dead. I’m sat at the computer, I just ran away” and “I’ve gone to hell’.”

TM4  – Domination

Goes out of the way to create rich media to target one or more specific individuals The “case of the electronic lover” was one of the most documented forms of cyberhickery. Alexander was a psychiatrist from New York and posted to a chatroom under the name of Joan. He convinced women he was a woman and they opened up to him even having ‘lesbian’ cybersex. He portrayed Joan as having a disability, but was forced to come clean when others insisted on meeting him – as Joan, which he couldn’t do. Sean Duffy could be considered to be one of the most prolific of flame trollers in the world. Even though he is continually sentenced to jail, he goes out of his way to ‘vandalise’ the memorial pages of grieving families. In one instance he went to the effort of making a video, called ‘Tasha the Tank Engine’ to upset the family of the late teenager, Natasha MacBryde.


Quotation by Jonathan Bishop on Sean Duffy


R.I.P troller, Sean Duffy, is  an example of where the legal system could do better in relation to trolling. He is not going to stop re-offending after each 18-week sentence, he needs to be detained for a longer period for the safety of the public if he is not willing to change.


Jonathan Bishop

Sean Duffy

Sean Duffy of Yew Tree Lodge care home in Redlands Road, Reading, who first started flame trolling in his 20s, is one of the most prolific flame trollers on the Internet. He targets his victims, the family members of teenagers who have died, by posting offensive pictures and videos on their memorial pages, making him a ‘RIP Troller’. Duffy has been sentenced to 13-week prison terms a number of times under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, but this has not stopped him flame trolling his many victim.

Natasha MacBryde

Natasha MacBryde’s tragic death was one of the first cases of the abusive form of trolling (i.e. Anonymous trolling) to bring attention to the phenomenon.

MacBryde, was 15-years-old when she was hit by a train after allegedly committing suicide. MacBryde was a pupil Royal Grammar School in Upper Tything, Worcester, which is a £10,000-a-year private school. She was bullied by a group of girls who called themselves ‘The Ten’.

Following her death her memorial page on Facebook was ransacked by Internet trolls. Messages included: “You’re a f***ing slut hiding under all your make-up. You think you’re pretty and that all the guys like you,” and “Start acting nice to people or you will lose everyone.”

One of the most notorious Internet trollers, Sean Duffy, went to the effort of making and posting an abusive video, called ‘Tasha the Tank Engine.” Duffy was sentenced to 18-weeks in prison for this bout of ‘R.I.P Trolling’ at the same time as he was prosecuted for others under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.

Speaking after the case, MacBryde’s mother said, “I remember going up and lying next to her at the cemetery thinking I can’t stop this person hurting her. This is something that we shouldn’t have to go through – we’ve lost our daughter and that was really hard. This was just a whole new thing we had to put up with again.” MacBryde’s father was equally disturbed, “This person was hiding behind a computer. For me you can’t see him, you can’t do anything. It is very hard for a father. You all try and protect your kids.

Sophie Taylor

Sophie Taylor, a 16 year old, was killed accidentally by Calum Murray at a cottage at Tomintoul in 2011 before the trainee gamekeeper turned his gun on himself. A memorial page set up following her death was ransacked by notorious Internet troller, Sean Duffy.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that Duffy left “cold, shocked and angry” on Taylor’s memorial web page, where he edited image of Sophie on the site just days after Taylor’s death between 18 and 20 April 2011.

Duffy’s defence attorney, Mr Neil McRobert, said: “He accepts and acknowledges that his conduct here was abhorrent,” and “He is absolutely devastated, ashamed and upset by his actions and the distress they caused.”