Sussex Police have issued a warning after a Brighton man was jailed for nine years for a campaign of online abuse on Facebook and by email.
Paul Kerr, 56, brother of Simple Minds pop star Jim Kerr, was jailed at Lewes Crown Court yesterday (Monday 6 January).
Kerr, of Warwick Mount, Montague Street, Brighton, denied three charges of stalking but was convicted by a jury after a five-week trial.
A Sussex Police detective said that people who were offensive and caused distress online “can expect to face consequences in the real world”.
Kerr took offence about a harmless Facebook comment about the band by a fan, 51-year-old John Fagan.
He embarked on a sustained campaign of abuse against Mr Fagan and his wife Julie, 52, as well as against another woman, Elisabeth Vanthof, with whom he had had a short-lived relationship.
Sussex Police said: “A Brighton man has been sent to prison for stalking a couple who were fans of a top UK band, and his ex-girlfriend.
“Paul Kerr, 56, of Montague Street, Brighton, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Monday 6 January to a total of six years with a three-year extended sentence involving supervision on licence after being released, after being found guilty at a trial in November of an online campaign of abuse involving two counts of pursuing a course of conduct that amounted to stalking directed at the couple in their early fifties, and of stalking his ex-girlfriend.
“A restraining order continues in place, prohibiting him from contacting his victims.”
Detective Constable Jenny Dunn, of the Brighton Investigations Team, said: “Kerr had embarked on terrifying online stalking of the couple after they left a negative online review for the band’s album.
“This included his threatening to murder the man and to ‘drag his wife to a police station by her hair’.
“He also falsely accused the man of raping a nine-year-old boy and posting sexually abusive comments against him and his wife on public Facebook pages.
“He also carried out a similar abusive online campaign against his ex-girlfriend after they had a relationship of less two months in early 2018.
“All three victims were severely shaken by their experiences with Paul Kerr, who has now gone to prison.
“This shows that people who act in this offensive and distressing way online can expect to face consequences in the real world as we will investigate and work with the CPS to bring them before the courts wherever possible and appropriate.”
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