A TWITTER troll who bombarded Countdown star Rachel Riley with abusive tweets has been slapped with a restraining order.
Anthony Wells, 31, left the 28-year-old former Southend High School for Girls pupil from Thorpe Bay “distressed” after targeting her with hundreds of abusive and threatening messages during a seven-month period.
Wells from Chelmsford was handed a five-year restraining order at Basildon Crown Court after admitting one charge of harassment against Miss Riley.
The charge stated that tweets sent from Wells’ Twitter account had “caused Rachel Riley to fear that violence would be used against her”.
The court was told a similar charge relating to the alleged harassment of Coldplay singer Chris Martin on Twitter and YouTube, which Wells had pleaded not guilty to, would lie on file.
One bizarre tweet posted by the paranoid schizophrenic read: “Helping them might be Rachel and Chris Martin yet again trying to steal the rest of my songs for EMI and Sony.
“Kill them now.”
Jamie Sawyer, prosecuting, told the court: “Ultimately this case revolves around harassment causing fear of violence by Mr Wells between October 2012 and May 2013.
“Effectively what he did was send a persistent series of abusive Twitter messages.
“Rachel Riley is something of a celebrity, a TV presenter on Countdown, who is married with children and uses her Twitter account to communicate with fans and advertise where she will be attending.
“Around 500 tweets were sent during the time of the indictment. The nature of these messages was always abusive.
“The messages sent to Rachel Riley of course caused her distress. Her personal statement gives a graphic description of her reaction to the tweets.
“In our observation these two complainants deserve protection and reassurance.”
Wells appeared in court alongside a mental health nurse and wore a grey suit jacket, jeans and white trainers.
Judge Owen Davies QC told the court the case was a “delicate matter” as Wells had clearly been suffering from mental health issues at the time.
Miss Eleanor Scott, mitigating, told the court her client has been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and his abusive tweets had been influenced by “psychotic thinking”.
She said: “At the time Mr Wells was significantly influenced by psychotic thinking.
“He is still a very mentally fragile individual but has pleaded guilty to the charge and understands what he did was wrong.
“He is happy to abide by a restraining order.”
Judge Davies QC imposed a restraining order banning Wells from contacting both Rachel Riley and Chris Martin either directly or indirectly.
He also sectioned Wells under the Mental Health Act.
Addressing Wells, he said: “You’re currently in hospital and for the moment that is the right place for you to be.
“I am going to make a Section 37 hospital order under the Mental Health Act. That is an order requiring you to remain in hospital until authorities require otherwise.”
Last September Miss Riley wowed BBC viewers with her dancing moves during a six-week stint on Strictly Come Dancing, alongside dance partner Pasha Kovalev, before eventually being voted off.
Riley fans were left stunned in November after it was revealed the TV starlet had broken up with her millionaire husband, Jamie Gilbert, after just 16 months of marriage.