Online troll who made homophobic and racist posts ‘dripping with hate and contempt’ walks free from court

Luke Crompton: 'Homophobic' troll spared jail after encouraging terrorism

An internet troll who wrote hundreds of “vile and hateful” homophobic and racist posts has walked free from court after pleading guilty to encouraging terrorism.

Luke Crompton, 30, had two profiles on the Russian social media site VKontakte (VK), both of which “prominently” displayed symbols of and allegiance to white supremacy.

Over nine months in 2018 he posted a vast amount of material “expressing hatred and contempt” for homosexuals, Jews, Muslims, Black people “and those that consorted with them”.

Alaric Bassano, prosecuting, told the court: “Many of the posts called for and encourage extreme activity against such people, such as the destruction of the Jewish and Islamic faiths, the torching of mosques and the murder of Black people, Muslims and Jews.”

It was said that he intended his posts to induce members of the public to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism against these groups.

But Crompton’s defence lawyer told the court that he did not actually harbour racist or homophobic views and had been “influenced and exploited” online by “unscrupulous individuals”.

He claimed Luke Crompton had a low IQ and possible autism, and functions as effectively as a 10-year-old. Experts agreed there was an “obsessional quality” to his posts and suggested that his mental limitations, including social isolation and inability to form friendships and relationships, were likely to have played a part in his actions.

Bentley argued that Crompton was influenced by people who he believed had a genuine interest in him. “He is plainly a vulnerable individual who was targeted online by unscrupulous individuals,” the barrister said.

“He did not present as harbouring racist and offensive views and, in my opinion, would lack the intellect and sophistication to conceal them.”

Crompton posted on the Russian social media site VKontakte, which is similar to Facebook (Envato Elements)

Although the judge condemned Crompton’s “deeply offensive” posts he allowed him to walk free from court, noting his “vulnerability” and the risk of exploitation and radicalisation in a prison environment.

He was sentenced to a two-year community order with a requirement of 30 rehabilitation days.

Judge Patrick Field told Crompton: “What you did was to post vile and hateful material on a Russian social media site over a period of about nine months in 2018.

“The individual posts were deeply offensive, dripping with hate and contempt for Jews, Muslims and Black people.

“They included praise for those who believed in white supremacy and they, in part, encouraged terrorism against Jews, Muslims and Black people, encouraged people to kill them, to attack their religions and to burn their religious buildings.”

The judge added: “It is plain to me that you were influenced and exploited online by others who were considerably more sophisticated than you are.”