Man arrested for abusive tweets to Jack Monroe released on bail

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Police have confirmed that a man who was arrested in connection with posing as a UKIP candidate and sending abusive messages on Twitter to Guardian writer Jack Monroe, has been released on bail.

Monroe quit the microblogging platform after receiving “hate” and “vitriol”, which she said was “suffocating” her. She went on to say she thought Twitter was not “a safe place to be” because of abuse.

The Twitter account behind the abuse claimed to be of Alex Wood, a former UKIP election candidate, but has since been confirmed as fake. It targeted Monroe, as well as Owen Jones and other figures.

The Guardian reports that Avon and Somerset police confirmed that the 22-year-old man was released on bail until Saturday.

The fake account wrote: “Your sick form of Lesbianism and militant queerism is destroying this country. Get out and give us Britain back! #VoteUKIP.”

It also added: “@MsJackMonroe I think you’re an absolute disgrace as well, Queers should all be sterilised. #VoteUKIP2015.”

UKIP condemned the account, calling it “vile”, and acted quickly alongside the real Mr Wood to report the account to the police.

Joshua Bonehill, who has in the past been found guilty of malicious communication for harassing people online, has identified himself as the arrested man.

On his website, he wrote: “Police have confirmed that a man who was arrested in connection with sending abusive messages on Twitter to Guardian writer Jack Monroe and political commentator Owen Jones, has been released on bail.

“I will not comment on my guilt or innocence at this time being but I am confident the police investigation will reveal the truth. This momentous occasion marks my 15th arrest for Free Speech,

“Well, whatever the outcome of this latest arrest and debacle, there will be no apologies or backing down from me. Indeed, in clearing up what remained of my once-home, I was reminded of the long war we have ahead but the victory awaiting is what drives me.”

Bonehill falsely branded people as paedophiles and homosexuals online, and earlier this year escaped a jail sentence after being  found guilty of six counts of malicious communication by Yeovil Magistrates. He was handed a three-month suspended sentence.

A statement sent to PinkNews from UKIP reads: “UKIP utterly denounces the vile and uncalled for twitter troll that is masquerading as Alex Wood. We are very sorry for the offence it has caused and treat it and the sentiments it expresses with the contempt it deserves. We have been in contact with Twitter and hope that they will delete the account as quickly as possible. So to people like Jack Monroe and Owen Jones we can only feel sympathy, no matter our differences they do not deserve these coarse and unpleasant attacks.

“Political discourse can be robust but must keep within boundaries of decency. We are also concerned that a young man is having his own name and reputation dragged through the mud, again.”

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