McCann internet troll found dead in Enderby

Marriott Hotel, Enderby, LeicesterA woman who was accused of trolling Madeleine McCann’s parents online has been found dead in Enderby.

Brenda Leyland, 63, who used the Twitter handle “@sweepyface”, was found dead in the Marriott Hotel on Enderby’s Grove Park.

She was identified by a Sky News reporter, Martin Brunt, as one of the people posting vile messages on the internet aimed at the McCanns.

Mr Brunt confronted her after tracking her down to her home.

The moment was captured on video which was broadcast and also posted on You Tube.

The video has now been withdrawn and a notice says the account is closed.

Leicestershire Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious.


Incident sparks debate

The incident has sparked controversy among journalists and others, re-igniting debate about the responsibilities of the press and social media.

Speaking on the programme ‘the Papers’ on the BBC News channel, Andrew Harrison, editor of Esquire Weekly said he thought the incident was likely to develop into a national debate. He thought this was the first instance of doorstepping an ordinary member of the public by the national media. He posed the question whether an ordinary person writing (albeit distasteful material) on social media should be treated the same as a celebrity.

Kate and Gerry McCann, as well as Madeleine’s younger siblings, have been subjected to disgusting attacks by internet trolls – some even suggesting the couple be tortured or killed.

Madeleine McCann disappeared on the evening of 3 May 2007 from her bed in a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, a resort in the Algarve region of Portugal.

Her disappearance has been described as “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history.”

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