Girls Aloud murder fantasy prompts arrest and charge

Out-Law News | 03 Oct 2008 | 4:19 pm | 1 min. read

A man has been arrested and charged over a blog post detailing the imaginary kidnap, torture and murder of the members of Girls Aloud. He has been charged with the publishing of an obscene article, police said.

Advert: free OUT-LAW Breakfast Seminars - 1. Making your contract work: pitfalls and best practices; 2. Transferring data: the information security issuesDarryn Walker, 35 and of Mowbray Road in South Shields, is accused of writing the web-published fantasy about the members of the pop group. He was arrested in February after reports by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a body which reports potentially obscene material on the internet.

Walker was charged at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court in late July with publishing an obscene article, according to a spokeswoman for London's Metropolitan Police, where the Obscene Publications Unit is based.

Walker will appear at Newcastle Crown Court on 22nd October for a case management hearing.

The Obscene Publications Act is more usually used to prosecute individuals over images rather than words. It makes it an offence to publish material which might deprave or corrupt those seeing it.

The IWF said that it had passed details to police after being told of the site. Though it was not hosted in the UK, said a spokeswoman, the site did have UK links on it so a report was passed to police.

The IWF spokeswoman said that it reported any material that it came across that fell under the Obscene Publications Act.

According to the Act it is an offence to publish something likely to "deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in" the article.

If convicted, a person can be jailed for up to three years under the Act.

The IWF is more well known for the reporting of instances of obscene material relating to child sexual abuse than other kinds of obscenity. The IWF spokeswoman said that its remit covered material involving children worldwide, material generally that may be an offence under the Obscene Publications Act in the UK and material which would be incitement to racial hatred in the UK.