Policing Twitter: Daley abuser arrested

Tom Daley: Twitter abuser arrested
Tom Daley: Twitter abuser arrested
Ian Dunt By

There were concerns over heavy-handed police tactics today, after they swept in to arrest a 17-year-old boy suspected of tweeting abuse at British diver Tom Daley.

The owner of account @Rileyy_69 is being investigated by police for allegedly attacking the athlete after he failed to get a medal in the male synchronised diving.

"A 17-year-old man was arrested by Dorset Police officers in the early hours this morning at a guesthouse in the Weymouth area on suspicion of malicious communications," police said.

"He is currently helping police with their inquiries."

Shortly after Daley and his partner Pete Waterfield came fourth the star athlete retweeted a message saying: "You let your dad down, I hope you know that". Daley's father died last year from brain cancer.

Daley wrote: "After giving it my all... you get idiots sending me this..."

The user was then attacked by countless other Twitter users.

Civil liberties advocates raised alarm over the arrest however, coming so soon after the 'Twitter joke trial', where Paul Chambers was convicted for jokingly tweeting he would blow Robin Hood airport "sky high".

Lawyer David Allen Green, who managed to quash the conviction after two year's work, tweeted this morning: "A tweeter sends bad taste and vile tweets, and the police now arrest him. Looks like the beginnings of a god-awful mess."

Others suggested the user's tweets had included threats to Daley and his defenders, however.

Once the user ID @Rileyy_69 was being rounded on by other tweeters, the account adopted a new tone and started apologising profusely to the diver.

"Please I don't want to be hated, I'm just sorry you didn't win," the account said.

"I was rooting for you pal to do Britain all proud. Just so upset."

Yesterday, the FA began disciplinary action against Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand after he retweeted and commented on a message calling Chelsea player Ashley Cole 'choc ice', a racial slur.


Load in comments
Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.

Newsletter update