Thursday, June 13, 2013
A STUDENT who tweeted that ‘anyone wearing a Help
for Heroes T-shirt should be beheaded’ just hours after soldier Lee
Rigby was killed, was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work.
Deyka Ayan Hassan, from Harrow, posted the message
on Twitter at about 4pm on Wednesday, May 22, shortly after the soldier
was killed in Woolwich, south east London, Hendon Magistrates’ Court
She was immediately inundated with tweets that included threats to rape and kill her, which are being investigated by police.
The 21-year-old went to police to report the
threats made against her, however, she was arrested and charged with
making a malicious communication after telling police she had told her
Twitter followers, ‘To be honest if you wear a Help for Heroes T-shirt
you deserve to be beheaded’.
Hassan admitted the charge and said she had posted
the message as a ‘joke’ in relation to anyone who wore the T-shirt, as
she did not like its design.
Itpal Dhillon, defending, told the court on Friday
last week that when Hassan posted the tweet she had not been aware that
Drummer Rigby was a soldier.
Ms Dhillon said: “At the time she didn’t know the full details relating to the horrific incident.
“She certainly didn’t know that the man who was killed was a soldier.
“She fully accepts that the comment was distasteful and disgusting.”
Sentencing her to 250 hours of unpaid work, chair
magistrate Nigel Orton said: “The tragic events of Woolwich that day
have created a context that made this tweet appear extreme. It had a
huge impact and clearly caused offence and distress.
“We accept that you did not intend to cause harm
and you felt it was a joke. Your act was naive and foolish and without
regard to the sensitivity of the general public and a time of heightened
The English literature and politics student at
Kingston University admitted one count of sending a message that was
grossly offensive, or of an offensive or obscene character.
After realising the impact of her tweet, Hassan
said she was ‘disgusted’ with herself and was particularly upset at
having let down her family, including her father who flew back from
Somalia after her arrest, the court heard.
The court was told that in Somalia her father is
involved with a number of charitable organisations including Prevent
which combats extremism in young people.
A Kingston University spokesman said: “Kingston
University expects its students to display high standards of behaviour,
respecting others at all times, and not bring the university into
“It also expects students to take responsibility for their actions and to learn from their mistakes.
“The university has been made aware of Ms Hassan’s
conviction and an investigation will be conducted in accordance with
the university’s disciplinary procedures.”
Hassan was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and £100 towards prosecution costs.