Woman, 34, cleared of cyber threats
Email to court demanded judge should stand down
A jury has cleared a woman of threatening to launch cyber attacks on Canterbury Crown Court.
Sarah Preece, 34, appeared at the Old Bailey last week charged with two offences of sending an email and a message which conveyed threats with the intent of causing distress or anxiety to the recipients.
She was deemed mentally unfit to plead but what is known as a ‘trial of the facts’ went ahead.
While unable to pass a sentence, the procedure aims to strike a balance between the need to protect a defendant, who may have done nothing wrong but is unfit to plead at trial, and the need to protect the public from a defendant who may have committed an act with criminal intent.
The defence successfully argued that there was insufficient evidence that Miss Preece, of Addiscombe Road, Croydon, was responsible for sending the messages.
The case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service after emails were sent to the Canterbury court and KM website Kentonline.
The message to the website said: “We have given the judge 21 days to stand down or take early retirement before we launch attacks against both Canterbury Crown Court and the CPS.
“We expect public statements from each of them, as demanded, to be published in this news outlet within 21 days or face total chaos.
“No longer will they fabricate the truth and prevent justice.”
The emails came from someone calling themselves L33t Cyber Team.
Police inquiries involving the National Crime Agency led to an address in Croydon.
Miss Preece was subsequently arrested on suspicion of blackmail and sending a malicious communication.
Sarah Preece was charged with two offences