Chorley man jailed over sick Facebook messages has sentence cut

Chorley Citizen: Matthew Woods Matthew Woods

A MAN jailed for posting sick messages on his Facebook page about missing schoolgirl April Jones has had his twelve weeks sentence cut.

Matthew Woods made a number of derogatory comments about the five-year-old and also Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in Portugal several years ago while on holiday with her family.

The 20-year-olds comments led to a mob of around 50 people descending on his home in Chorley, and magistrates sending him to youth custody as they imposed a maximum term earlier this month.

He successfully appealed against his sentence at Preston Crown Court today having claimed the twelve week term was excessive and that magistrates should have given him credit for his guilty plea.

The term was reduced to eight weeks.

Woods, who had been living at Eaves Lane, Chorley, had pleaded guilty to an offence of sending by means of a public electronic communications netwrork a message or other matter that was grossly offensive.

He has served twenty three days to date.

His Facebook comments, posted about a couple of days after April disappeared, included, ‘Who in their right mind would abduct a ginger kid?’ He went on to be arrested and told officers he had been in drink at the time he posted the messages, having got the idea from a website carrying jokes made in poor taste.

He had 21 previous offences on his record, including violence, damage, dishonesty and two public order offences.

Judge Anthony Russell QC said Woods' previous convictions indicated he had little concern for the feelings of others.

His barrister Joanne Shepherd told the court he was deeply ashamed of his behaviour and the custodial sentence had been a short, sharp shock.

Judge Anthony Russell QC, the Recorder of Preston, sitting with two magistrates, said the remarks posted by Woods had been ‘disgusting, offensive and very shocking’.

He said: "We hope the short, sharp shock has indeed had its effect on him because, given his record, if he goes on offeding in the way he has, he only has longer sentences to face."

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