Sledge death jokes anger

A WEBSITE was today condemned as "monstrous" for publishing dozens of sick jokes about South Yorkshire sledging tragedy victim Francesca Anobile.

Sickipedia, which calls itself 'The World's Best Collection of Sick Jokes', has included three pages containing 30 jokes about the terrible incident at Rother Valley Country Park.

Users of the website have posted their own jokes about 16-year-old Francesca - killed on Tuesday when a makeshift sledge collided with fencing at high speed - and rated other people's remarks.

The contents are too distressing for The Star to publish - but jokes continued to be posted even after one user cautioned: "Apparently Sickipedia is facing some very real threats of legal action due to friends and family of Francesca Anobile feeling we are making light of her tragic sledging accident.

"The police are currently investigating."

Users even egged each other on to ensure the website received as many 'hits' as possible so it could be the number one site mentioned when the Mosborough schoolgirl's name was typed into search engine 'Google'.

One 16-year-old girl, who is a close friend of the Anobile family, said: "This website appears to be one used for members of the public to post sick and disgusting jokes about anything that is taboo.

"These jokes are extremely distressing to anyone, let alone friends and family of Francesca.

"Francesca was a lovely girl, and I, and many others, do not want these circulated at such a distressing time."

The website was slammed by Sheffield Council leader Coun Paul Scriven, who said: "I believe in freedom of speech, however on this occasion, this particular thread is so very offensive, insensitive, and completely ignores the fact that a family is in mourning for a 16-year-old girl tragically killed.

"I think the website has a moral and legal duty to take this down and allow Francesca's family to mourn in peace."

Sick jokes on the internet have led to prosecutions in other cases, with sentences of community service.

According to Section Four of the Public Order Act: "A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress."

Rob Manuel, of Kentish Town, London, who manages the Sikipedia website, did not return The Star's calls or emails asking for comment.


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