Autism man suffered online abuse

Two members of a Facebook group have admitted making offensive commnents online about a young man with autism.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 10th February 2017, 2:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:35 am
Offensive comments were made via the internet.
Offensive comments were made via the internet.

The 21-year-old victim of the abuse was so upset he literally tore clumps of his hair out, Falkirk Sheriff Court was told.

Nathan Mills (24), 147 Ochiltree Terrace, Camelon, and a 17-year-old male, who can’t be named, admitted sending offensive messages to the man on July 15.

Samantha Brown, prosecuting, said Facebook is the victim’s only way of communicating. He was in a chat group and other members started making fun of him, joking about setting him up with a female who wasn’t interested.

However, the accused followed up with abusive comments. Mills mocked the man’s disability while his pal swore and threatened to “attach a canister to your wheelchair and watch you fly through the air”.

It was pointed out in court that the victim doesn’t actually use a wheelchair.

Ms Brown said a neighbour of the victim was also a member of the Facebook group and she told his mother about the abuse.

She added: “The victim’s mother told police her son was so distressed by the comments he had physically torn some hair out of his head.”

Defence agents claimed the victim had earlier posted insulting comments about the accused.

Kevin Douglas, defending Mills, said: “My client isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. He shouldn’t have resorted to this.”

Simon Hutchison, for the 17-year-old, said he had been stupid.

Sheriff Craig Caldwell deferred sentence on the first offenders for six months for good behaviour, saying: “This sort of abusive, cowardly activity is, unfortunately, becoming increasingly common.

“In this case it involved a young man with significant difficulties though he too is no stranger to offensive conduct.

“Let this be a lesson to you and others. Be careful. If you persist in this abusive activity you will be dealt with seriously by the courts.”