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Cyberstalker to spend six months in jail

Months on the lam end with maximum possible sentence

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Convicted cyberstalker Felicity Jane Lowde has been sentenced to six months in chokey for her "vicious, vitriolic and vindictive" campaign of harassment against Rachel North, a survivor of the July 2005 London bombings. Her sentence was handed down at Thames Magistrate Court yesterday, along with an anti social behaviour order (ASBO) and is the maximum jail term the judge could impose.

North runs a blog where she campaigns for an independent inquiry into the attack, and it was here that Lowde first made contact. Her initially friendly messages quickly changed tone, becoming aggressive, threatening and obscene.

Over the course of a year, Lowde variously accused North of exploiting her survivor status to make money and of "deserting the dying" after the bombings. She also left threatening and obscene messages on North's blog and answering machine, and began her own blog where she made defamatory and false allegations against North and her family.

Lowde, 41, from Jackson Road in Cutteslowe, Oxford, was convicted in absentia in April this year. The judge at her trial issued a warrant for her arrest and issued an injunction against Lowde continuing her defamatory postings.

Despite this, Lowde went into hiding and continued to post false statements, attacking North in her blog. She was eventually arrested in the Brick Lane area of London, after a tip-off to police.

According to The Times, District Judge Malcolm Read told Lowde: “The offences, I would say, are at the very top end to be taken in a prosecution of harassment and therefore have to be dealt with at the top end of my powers."

He said she had persisted in her harassment of North for "a considerable period of time", causing her great distress. ®

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