DOWNHAM MARKET: Police probe ‘troll’ attack on Facebook tribute page
A Facebook tribute page to a teenager who died after a collision on the A10 near Downham last month has been removed after it was targeted by an Internet troll.
Police are investigating the posting of more than 40 sickening and malicious images and messages on the site, set up in memory of 17-year-old Aiden Miles Vandenborn, and seeking the person responsible.
An Internet troll is someone who posts a deliberately provocative message to a social media message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.
Aiden, who lived in the Downham area and was described as a “caring and kind” teenager by his family, died at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on December 15.
He had been walking along the A10, near the A1122 Bexwell roundabout, at around 12.20am that day, when he was involved in the collision with a Volkswagen Sharan.
His tribute page was set up three days later and more than 100 genuine messages from his friends were posted on it. Floral tributes were also left near the accident scene and at an informal ‘shrine’ set up at Lynn bus station.
Aiden’s mother, Sarah Hepworth, had urged his friends to put tributes on Facebook so that she and his family could read them instead of attending unofficial roadside vigils or memorials as she was concerned for their safety.
But they have been upset by the provocative images, some showing simulated scenes of a horrifically-injured teenager lying beside a car, posted by the troll and police have received complaints.
Superintendent Dave Marshall, the divisional police chief, said: “It is sickening that someone would wish to post such comments at any time on social media, and especially on a tribute page to a young man who has recently died.
“The comments do nothing but cause further distress to Aiden’s family and friends, and we are liaising with them regarding the page and its removal.
“The purpose of these comments is purely to cause distress and hurt and whilst the person responsible may appear anonymous on the site, we will carry out inquiries to identify them so they can be held fully accountable for their actions.
“We are aware that a local young person has been named on social sites as responsible for the malicious postings. We are satisfied at this time that this is not the case and the naming of this boy is also malicious.
“The speculative naming of people on social media is unhelpful to our investigation and potentially very damaging. Information can be passed to us by calling 101 or via Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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