Woman Who Abused McCanns Online Found Dead

She was confronted by reporter over Twitter messages
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2014 12:25 AM CDT
Updated Oct 6, 2014 7:00 AM CDT
Woman Who Abused McCanns Online Found Dead
Kate, left, and Gerry McCann, parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, arrive at a court in Lisbon earlier this year for their libel action against a former Portuguese detective.   (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

A woman accused of taking part in an online hate campaign against the parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann has been found dead days after she was confronted by a reporter. Brenda Leyland, a 63-year-old described by the Daily Mail as a "church-going mother," was found in a hotel room about 15 miles from her home in Leicestershire, England, Saturday, and police say they're not treating the death as suspicious. Leyland was identified last week as one of dozens of people who had abused Kate and Gerry McCann online, and when a Sky News reporter confronted her and told her evidence had been passed to the police, she said she was "entitled" to send messages attacking them, reports the Guardian.

Under the Twitter name "sweepyface," Leyland accused the McCanns of being involved in the disappearance of their 3-year-old daughter, who vanished in Portugal in 2007, and said they deserved to suffer "for the rest of their miserable lives." Last week, Gerry McCann told the BBC that "something needs to be done about the abuse on the Internet" and "I think we probably need more people charged." He said that he and Kate find online comments directed at them too upsetting to read, and that he has "grave concerns" about what will happen when their twins, now 9 years old, start using the Internet as they get older. Click for the latest in the search for Maddy. (More Kate McCann stories.)

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