Neo-Nazi man jailed for anti-Semitic Twitter campaign against MP

Jewish Labour member received barrage of 2,500 tweets over three days

A Somerset neo-Nazi with a history of sending false, malicious and racially abusive messages over the internet has been jailed for targeting a Jewish Labour MP.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine, a 24-year-old man from Yeovil, Somerset, was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday after having been found guilty of targeting Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger in a sustained campaign of anti-Semitic abuse.

“You are currently serving a sentence of 40 months imprisonment, imposed on 17th December 2015 for stirring up racial hatred against the Jewish community in Golders Green. That offence was committed whilst you were on bail for the present offence, which in turn was committed whilst you were on bail for other offences of sending malicious communications over the internet and harassment,” said the sentencing judge at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Spencer.

Bonehill-Paine began his campaign against Berger in 2014, after an associate of his was sentenced to four weeks in prison for doctoring a picture of her “to show a yellow Star of David on her forehead and the word ‘Jude’, images redolent of the Holocaust.”

Writing on his blog, Bonehill-Paine described Berger as “a racist and a fascist who hated all white British people, a vile Jewish middle class anti-British pro-genocide rodent and a very evil woman who supported anything other than Britain” along with other “racist rants” as summarised by the judge.

At the time, Bonehill-Paine was already before the courts charged with falsely and maliciously branding other members of the public paedophiles, charges he was subsequently found guilty of.

The campaign against Berger took the form of urging right-wing extremists on Twitter to send offensive tweets to Berger in retaliation for what Bonehill-Paine perceived as her part in having his friend jailed.

“You boasted that the offensive against Luciana Berger ‘and her Jewry’ had been a massive success in that she had received over 2,500 anti-Semitic tweets,” said Mr Justice Spencer. In another blog post Bonehill-Paine later published “another doctored image of Ms Berger holding a placard saying she had had a man jailed for a non-violent online tweet ‘and if I don’t like your tweets, you’ll be next!’.” There was a kosher symbol under her name in the doctored image.

Berger received round-the-clock police protection as a result of the Twitter storm.

Imposing the maximum two-year sentence on Bonehill-Paine for his latest offence of racially aggravated harassment, the judge made the following order:

... you must not possess devices capable of accessing the internet and making or storing digital information without notifying the police and making the equipment available for examination on request. You must not have more than two laptops, phones or other mobile devices capable of accessing the internet. You must provide the police with access to any encrypted material. You must not delete the internet history on any of the devices.

The order is in the standard terms handed out to anyone found guilty of communications-related offences.

The sentence will run consecutively from Bonehill-Paine’s current prison term, which he is serving at HM Prison Wayland in Norfolk. ®

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