Greg Searle, who was 34 at the time, was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to affray and admitting to threatening police officers with an imitation firearm.
Searle was arrested following putting remarks on Facebook threatening to kill others while he was at his home in Chepstow in Wales in August 2011.
Concerned friends notified the authorities for what Searle’s barrister, Karl Williams, called a “cry for help” resulting out of “intense psychological issues”
A siege was launched on Searle by police following the concerns being raised, which provoked a stand-off between Searle and the officers. In the heat of the moment Searle tried to protect himself with a fake firearm the court heard.
Despite the perception of heavy-handedness by the police of a person in a vulnerable state of mind, Searle was sentenced to two years of jail after pleading guilty to affray and threatening back police officers with the imitation firearm.
The court heard how Searle when under pressure from the police posted menacing remarks to the social networking site Facebook, where he had over 400 people in his circle of friends, “I give you live murder on Facebook. Bet you sick freaks can’t wait for me to make my move so you can watch,” and “I’ve left my grenade somewhere, I think it’s still in the car.”
The case shows the link between severe psychological distress and flame trolling behaviour. No complaint was made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission following the altercation in which the police justified calling in an armed response team complete with bulletproof vests to deal with Searle in his delicate psychological state.