Somerset

Teenagers facing jail over Facebook posts 'glorifying a murderer'

Two youths are facing jail after making abusive comments about a judge and 'glorifying a murderer' on social media.

Damien Parker-Stokes, 19, and Kyle Cox, 18, were found in contempt of court at London's High Court.

The committal hearing followed the illegal taking of photos at Bristol Crown Court in 2014 of their friend Ryan Sheppard, and the uploading of the images onto Facebook.

They will be sentenced at a later date.

Sheppard, then 17, was jailed for life for beating 35-year-old Mark Roberts to death in an "unprovoked, sustained and brutal" attack in Weston-super-Mare in 2013.

Ben Watson, for Solicitor General Robert Buckland, said the pictures taken in court had been accompanied by comments which "vilified" the judicial process and "glorified" Sheppard.

'Serious consequences'

Mr Watson said the contempt was serious because of the nature of the proceedings, but also because it showed the increasing difficulty faced by the criminal courts of widespread access to camera phones with the ability to upload images to the internet.

Mr Justice Ouseley said Parker-Stokes was in custody at the initial hearing in March and had declined to give evidence.

Cox admitted his guilt after the hearing and apologised, for which he would receive credit.

The Solicitor General said: "This was a serious case of contempt where individuals used their mobile phones and social media to glorify a defendant being sentenced for murder and to be contemptuous towards the judiciary.

"There are serious consequences for individuals who commit contempt of court. I hope this sends a message to anyone tempted to do the same thing."

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