Man admits UK's first 'web-rage' attack

POLICE warned internet users to guard their identities after a man was convicted of Britain's first “web-rage” attack.Paul Gibbons, 47, turned up at the Clacton home of John Jones, 43, after they exchanged insults on the internet, the Old Bailey heard.

POLICE warned internet users to guard their identities after a man was convicted of Britain's first “web-rage” attack.

Paul Gibbons, 47, turned up at the Clacton home of John Jones, 43, after they exchanged insults on the internet, the Old Bailey heard.

He traced his address after Mr Jones, a father of three children, put personal details about himself online.

Gibbons, a man with a violent past, traced them to his home in Clacton and arrived at the door with a pickaxe handle and another man carrying a machete.


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Ibitayo Adebayo, prosecuting, told the court yesterday Mr Jones had opened the door holding a knife for protection.

He said: “There was a scuffle on the landing between this defendant and the victim. The victim ended up on the floor and was beaten with the pickaxe handle.”

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Gibbons had taken the knife away from Mr Jones and was attacking him with it as Mr Jones tried to fight him off, he said.

He fled after blood started trickling down Mr Jones's face and his partner emerged from the bathroom and called for help.

Mr Adebayo said doctors later found Mr Jones had cuts to his head, neck and hands. One cut was near the jugular vein.

After Gibbons was arrested, he was found to have boasted about what he was going to do in a chatroom to another user. One message read: “It went perfectly to plan.”

Gibbons, of Southwark, south London, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and was remanded in custody for sentencing on November 7.

A charge of the attempted murder of Mr Jones in December last year, and four charges of online threats to kill four other chatroom users, were left to lie on file.

Mr Adebayo said the two men met while using an internet chatroom called Yahoo, Islam 10 as they were both interested in the Islamic faith and had friends of that religion.

They communicated without problems for some time but after a break of a month, Gibbons had accused Mr Jones of spreading rumours about him.

Mr Adebayo said: “There was an exchange of views between the victim and the defendant which were threatening on both sides. Certainly there was some hostility between the two.”

Judge Richard Hawkins said: “This is a most peculiar case.”

Outside court, Detective Constable Christopher Creagh, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “This is the first instance of a web-rage attack.”

Detective Sergeant Jean-Marc Bazzoni, of Essex Police, added: “This was a terrifying ordeal for Mr Jones. His wife was in the bath, two of his children were playing outside and the baby was nearby.

“Gibbons was able to trace the family because Mr Jones and his partner used their names as part of their sign-ons and through hints they had given in the chatroom.

“He travelled over 70 miles on a snowy day after Christmas then boasted of what he did in the chatroom.

“Gibbons had chatted to someone else's teenage daughter in the chatroom and then claimed other users led by Mr Jones had called him a paedophile.

“Gibbons had user names of pastordevil-tard-killer, devilishness and exudes.”

He added: “This case demonstrates how careful you must be about protecting your identity. Mr Jones had posted pictures of his family on the web and had chatted to Gibbons on an audio link.

“It demonstrates how easily other users can put two and two together and also shows how children could also find themselves in danger.”

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