U.K. man jailed for 20 months for threatening terrorists on social media after terror attacks

By Mason White 5:01 PM October 29, 2017
Paul Hepplestall
Paul Hepplestall
By: Tanya Clark

A man will spend nearly two years in jail after uploading a video to social media in which he is heard making threats against terrorists, according to police in the United Kingdom.

Merseyside police said that they welcomed the sentencing of 39-year-old Paul Hepplestall for sending “racially aggravated malicious communications.”

Hepplestall from Cornwallis Street, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced at the Liverpool Crown Court to serve 20 months in prison.

He was also given a five-year restraining order for deleting his Internet history following the allegations.

According to the police investigation, Hepplestall shared a video on social media in which he is seen holding a bladed weapon and wearing a plastic grenade around his neck while making comments about recent terrorist attacks in the country.

He uploaded the video on social media following the Manchester Arena bombing and the day after the London Bridge attack.

Within hours of uploading the video, it went viral.

Police said that they received hundreds of phone calls from Muslims as far away as Yemen, who said that they feared for their safety.

Hepplestall denied being a racist and said that the video was a joke.

Detective Constable Tom Patterson said: “The verdict shows that Merseyside Police and the Crown Prosecution Service are relentless in their pursuit of people who commit hate crimes and will actively pursue anyone who misuses social media to broadcast messages of hate.

“The more action we can take against perpetrators of hate crimes the more confidence we can instill in victims that if they report things to the police we will protect, support them and make it stop.

“Victims can report directly to the police where specially-trained hate crime officers will treat them with sensitivity and compassion, or via third party reporting centres in fire stations, citizen advice bureaus and hospitals, where the information will be passed on.

“By continuing to encourage greater reporting, we can protect and support more victims and make it clear to perpetrators that we will do everything we can to put them before the courts.”