South West Wales

Ann Maguire stabbing: Robert Riley admits abusive messages

Robert Riley leaving Leeds Magistrates' Court Image copyright PA
Image caption Robert Riley leaving Leeds Magistrates' Court on Monday

A man has admitted posting abusive Twitter messages about the death of school teacher Ann Maguire.

Robert Riley, from Port Talbot, South Wales, appeared before magistrates in Leeds where he admitted sending a message of a grossly offensive, abusive or malicious character.

The case has been transferred to Swansea Magistrates' Court for sentencing.

Mrs Maguire, 61, was stabbed to death in her classroom in Leeds a week ago.

Riley was said to be "mortified by his own behaviour". Although his messages were not read in court, the court heard some of them related to the death of Mrs Maguire at Corpus Christi Catholic College.


He left court saying nothing, with his grey tracksuit top pulled over his head.

During the 10-minute hearing his solicitor Michael Walsh said: "He is mortified by his own behaviour and he apologises for any upset that may have been caused to everybody."

Mr Walsh asked the magistrates to free Riley on bail, telling them the only reason he had been held overnight was for his own safety.

Image copyright Joseph Kilbride
Image caption Teacher Ann Maguire died after suffering stab wounds

He suggested Riley may be in more danger in a Leeds prison than he would be walking the streets.

Sandra White, prosecuting, told the court Riley had posted a number of offensive tweets, only some of which related to Mrs Maguire's death.

She said the offence came to the attention of West Yorkshire Police because of that connection but told the bench it should properly have been charged in south Wales, where the messages were sent from.

Ms White said magistrates in Swansea would also be in a position to deal with Riley's existing community order - no details of which were given.

Riley was given bail on condition that he does not use social networking sites and the internet generally until his appearance on Thursday.

The defendant sat in the dock with a woman security officer, wearing his tracksuit top over a grey t-shirt and blue jogging bottoms.

Riley is the second person to be charged with the offence in the wake of Mrs Maguire's death.

Jake Newsome, 21, from the Harehills area of Leeds, was released on bail after being charged for the alleged abuse, police said.

He is due to appear before Leeds Magistrates Court on 14 May.

A 15-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been charged with Mrs Maguire's murder and is due to stand trial in November.

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