Developing

April Jones: Man Sentenced For Facebook Posts

An 18-year-old man has been given a six-week suspended sentence for making offensive comments on Facebook about missing girl April Jones.

Sam Busby, a sales adviser from Worcester, was arrested by police after posting grossly offensive sexual remarks on the social networking site.

The teenager pleaded guilty to sending an indecent and offensive message brought under the 2003 Communications Act.

"He told the police that he was an immature teenager and it was an attempt to get some attention," prosecutor Kerry Lovegrove told magistrates in Worcester.

Solicitor Belinda Arris, defending, said Busby felt extremely sorry and ashamed, and was now likely to lose his job.

"He's so, so sorry, he has closed down his Facebook account and no longer engages in any social networking," she said.

Magistrates said they had taken into account Busby's early guilty plea and remorse, as they handed him six-week jail term suspended for 18 months.

In a separate case, another Facebook user was recently given a 12-week jail term for a similar offence where comments were made about the five-year-old.

Police are continuing their search for April more than a month after she disappeared in the Welsh town of Machynlleth. She was last seen on October 1.

Mark Bridger, 46, has been charged with abduction and murder.

Ms Lovegrove told the court that Busby's initial post on Facebook was a "joke" about April obtained from another website.

Although other Facebook users urged Busby to stop, he went on to write more offensive comments, prompting a woman to contact police.

After his arrest, Busby said he had been responsible for the comments, and told officers he thought they could only be seen by his friends on Facebook.

Magistrates also ordered Busby to pay an £80 victim surcharge and keep to a 7pm to 7am curfew for eight weeks.