A Langley Mill man has been given a suspended prison sentence for posting offensive tweets on the internet about a missing toddler, who was later found dead.
Darren Shepstone, 26, of Cromford Road, had already pleaded guilty to sending tweets using the social media site that were “grossly offensive or of an obscene character” when he appeared in court last month.
On Tuesday, magistrates in Derby sentenced him to 12 weeks in prison, which was suspended for 12 months on condition he undergoes 12 months of supervision and completes 150 hours of unpaid work.
Chairman of the Bench Jon Watkin told Shepstone: “This was a particularly disturbing offence with specific racial overtones.”
Magistrates said that the tweets – posted when three-year-old Mikaeel Kular went missing in January – were “racially aggravated”. The boy’s body was discovered in Fife, Scotland, on Friday, January 19. His mother Rosdeep Kular, 33, faces a murder charge in relation to his death.
Shepstone was caught after two Twitter users, who had seen the posts in Scotland, called police. Officers traced him to his address using details he had supplied the site when he registered. He was arrested on January 19 and his phone was seized.
Kate Fairburn, defending Shepstone, said: “He gave a full and frank admission to the police and accepts he had been drinking at the time, but most importantly that wasn’t any excuse.
“He is remorseful for his actions. He understands that people who have read those Tweets would have been upset and offended.”