Man who posted offensive Facebook message after soldiers killed in action is spared jail (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Azhar Ahmed made comments after deaths of servicemen including Bradford's Christopher Kershaw
1:15pm Tuesday 9th October 2012 in News
A man who posted a Facebook message that said "all soldiers should die and go to hell" after six British soldiers, including Bradford's Christopher Kershaw, were killed in Afghanistan has been spared jail.
Azhar Ahmed, 20, admitted posting the message two days after the deaths of the servicemen in March.
He was charged after the mother of one of the soldiers read the comments and was so upset she called the police.
Ahmed told a trial at Huddersfield Magistrates' Court he did not think what he had written was offensive. But the remarks were described as "derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory" by a district judge who found him guilty of sending a grossly offensive communication.
Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed alongside Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.
Ahmed's message said: "People gassin about the deaths of Soldiers! What about the innocent familys who have been brutally killed.
"The women who have been raped. The children who have been sliced up! Your enemy's were the Taliban not innocent harmful familys." He went on to write that "all soldiers should die and go to hell".
Ahmed, of Fir Avenue, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, told the court at his trial last month that he deleted the post as soon as he realised what reaction it was having. He said he replied with apologies to many people who commented on his page.
But he denied the message was grossly offensive and said he thought it would just have been upsetting and caused distress.
District Judge Jane Goodwin ruled Ahmed's posting was not tolerable and said "I'm satisfied that the message was grossly offensive". He was given a two-year community order with 240 hours of community service and ordered to pay £300 in costs.