Racist troll receives two year prison sentence for 'gravely oppressive' online harassment of MP Luciana Berger


A "vile racist" troll who harassed Labour MP Luciana Berger in a string of anti-Jewish rants has been jailed for the maximum of two years.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 24, sent five hate-filled blogs about the MP for Liverpool Wavertree in support of jailed far-right extremist Garron Helm.

The jury at the Old Bailey found Bonehill-Paine guilty of racially aggravated harassment on Wednesday.

Luciana Berger
Luciana Berger suffered a series of abuses from Bonehill-Paine (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The court heard he has a history of online abuse leaving a trail of devastation in the lives of those he chose to "pick a dispute" with.

While he was posting abusive blogs on Berger, Bonehill-Paine, of Yeovil, Somerset, was on bail awaiting sentence for making false claims on Twitter that several people were paedophiles. And while on police bail over the blogs, he stirred up racial hatred in a flyer for a neo-Nazi rally in Golders Green, north London.

He was jailed for three years and four months last December for the ad illustrated with a picture of Nazi death camp Auschwitz which promised "an absolute gas".

Berger arriving at court
The judge called the abuse "gravely oppressive" (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sentencing, Mr Justice Spencer told the defendant he had "amassed a formidable record of hate crime" at the age of just 24. He told Bonehill-Paine he was responsible for a "cruel campaign of vile racist abuse" on his "obnoxious" online newspaper.

"This was gravely oppressive racially aggravated harassment of the worst kind," he told Bonehill-Paine.

The judge described Berger's evidence in court as "restrained" and "dignified". She told jurors that online abuse does not always stay online - a truth illustrated by the tragic death of her fellow MP Jo Cox, the judge said.

MP Luciana Berger
The trial went on for four days (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The judge took into account that Bonehill-Paine was due for release on April 28 2017 but said a consecutive sentence was "fully justified". He also imposed a criminal behaviour order which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail to curb his internet activities.

Under the order, to be enforced by police upon his release, Bonehill-Paine is barred from contacting directly or indirectly Berger, her former assistant and other named individuals.

The judge said: "It is abundantly clear from all the evidence in the case and the material I have been provided with that he is tenacious in his use of the internet as a retaliatory weapon against anyone with whom he wishes to pick a dispute."

The order gives officers the power to monitor his online activities for the next five years.