From the Times:
Police warned internet users to protect their real identities after a man was convicted yesterday of Britain’s first “web rage” attack. Paul Gibbons, 47, of Bermondsey, southeast London, attacked John Jones with a pickaxe handle and knife, slitting his throat, after tracing Mr Jones to his house after an argument in an online chat room.
Ibitayo Adebayo, for the prosecution, told the court: “There were exchanges of views between the victim and the defendant, which were threatening on both sides. Certainly there was some hostility”. Gibbons, 47, then arrived at Mr Jones’s house on December 28 carrying a pickaxe handle, together with an unnamed accomplice armed with a machete…During the assault, Mr Jones’s throat was cut from his Adam’s apple to his ear, narrowly missing the jugular vein. Mr Adebayo said that Gibbons told him: “Jones, if you carry on, I will f***ing kill you”.
Police arrested Gibbons on January 11. They also seized the computer from the flat where he lived alone. It then emerged that he had boasted about his violent plans to another chatroom user called Angie, who has never been identified. On December 23 he wrote: “I am a law-abiding person but I’ll make an exception for Jones”. Another message, sent the day before the attack, read: “He’s going to regret it tomorrow. I’m looking forward to tomorrow”.
Obviously you have to be pretty unhinged to escalate something as trivial as an online argument to the stage where you’re making genuine threats of physical violence, and even more unhinged to actually bother to carry out those threats, but what on earth could it have been that they were arguing about that was so contentious and such a volatile subject that it led to a man’s throat being cut? The Times has the answer: “Gibbons, who used the username Pastordevil, argued about Muslims and the war on Iraq with Mr Jones through the chatroom”.
I note that today is the last day in Harry’s week of not talking about Islam all the time. Anyone up for another week?
“Now you know why I moved to Hong Kong!”, jokes Benjamin in the comments. I’ve checked and Opodo.co.uk are offering return flights from London Heathrow to Hong Kong from as little as £549.90.