“Twitter troll” Brenda targeting Madeleine’s parents found dead
A woman accused of using Twitter to abuse the parents of Madeleine McCann has been found dead in a hotel.
Brenda Leyland, 63, was found dead at the Marriott Hotel in Leicester, just 15 miles from her home, yesterday afternoon. A coronary report is yet to be filed but the death is not being treated as suspicious.
Ms Leyland’s death comes just days after Sky News reporter Martin Brunt confronted her at her home in Burton Overy, Leicestershire. As part of an investigation into the online “hate campaign” targeting the McCanns, whose daughter disappeared from Portugal in 2007.
Shown on Sky News last Thursday, Ms Leyland was seen stating that she was “entitled” to make the comments using her Twitter identity @Sweepyface.
Among many comments attributed to Ms Leyland was one that said: “Q: how long must the McCanns suffer? Answer: for the rest of their miserable lives.”
The Sky News report also showed Mr Brunt telling Ms Leyland that she had been reported to the police, and Scotland Yard was investigating a dossier of Twitter accounts which had apparently shown abuse against the McCanns.
The day after the investigation was broadcast, it was reported that Ms Leyland had fled her home.
Scotland Yard is currently investigating hundreds of hate messages posted by “trolls” – those who target people online with abuse messages – after being given an 80-page dossier created over seven years from McCann family supporters, cataloguing the abusive remarks and death threats aimed at the couple on social media.