Online threats left girls from Blackpool scared to leave home

Blackpool magistrates court
Blackpool magistrates court

Two teenage girls were left frightened of leaving their homes after a man who threatened to kill them two years ago got back in touch.

Matthew Whitwood sent friend requests to both 17-year-old’s Facebook accounts using his changed name, but the teenagers worked out his real identity.

Whitwood, also known by the surname Grist, a 37-year-old factory worker, of Bold Street, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to two offences of breaching a restraining order.

He was sentenced to 240 days jail and ordered to pay £115 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Prosecutor, Pam Smith, said Whitwood was convicted in June 2015 under the surname of Grist of threatening to kill the two Blackpool teenagers.

He was jailed for 30 months and released in April. He was also put on a seven year restraining order which banned him from contacting the girls and entering Blackpool.

Between September 15 and 16 this year both girls were messaged on Facebook by Whitwood. He told one girl she had ruined his life and the other to watch out.

They worked out who he was by what he said in the messages and alerted police saying they were absolutely terrified of Whitwood and now scared to leave their homes.

When interviewed Whitwood said he first used the computer at Fleetwood Library to message the girls and later used a friend’s computer.

Patrick Nelligan, defending, said his client had handed himself in to police, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was sorry for what he had done.