An internet troll has been banned from social media for two years after stealing baby photos and pretending they were her own dead children in a bid to raise money through online scams.

Katie Ringer, 21, admitted at Norwich Magistrates' Court two counts of sending offensive messages including threats to kill and rape children to their parents when they uncovered her hoax.

She was sentenced to a two-year criminal behaviour order which bans her from using any social media accounts, passing any other person's photo off as her own or asking any third party for a donation unless as a legitimate volunteer for a registered charity.

Ringer, from Norwich, was also handed a jail term of 30 weeks, suspended for two years, ordered to pay £225 costs and given a 30-day community service order, reported the Basildon, Canvey, and Southend Echo.

Earlier the court heard that Ringer copied photos from two strangers' Instagram accounts and claimed the women's kids were her own.

The jury heard she used pictures of the babies – one who was premature and another newborn – on online sites she had set up begging for money for treatment or to help with burial costs.

Previously, Ringer was jailed for just under three years in 2015 for 23 offences where she harassed a number of families, sending them doctored pictures of their babies with racist and sexual comments. At that time she raked in more than £2,000 from donors worldwide, who fell for her sob stories posted on Facebook.

But Ringer was back into court again last month after fresh complaints from parents, leading police to use covert surveillance to track her down in her latest sting.

Rape threats

The jury heard that one of Ringer's latest victims found a photo of her newborn child featured on a site to raise money in memory of a dead baby. When the mother asked Ringer to take the picture down she threatened to "rape and harm" the youngster.

A second victim found a picture of her premature daughter was being used on another site, and the mother contacted the site to ask not to use the picture or pretend the child was hers. Ringer this time threatened to kidnap and kill the child.

Ringer admitted to two offences that occurred on 28 March and between 19 March and 3 April this year, although she made no cash from her scams this time.

Defending, Ian Fisher said Ringer admitted the charges at the earliest opportunity and a number of events in her life had contributed to her "lacking any ability to empathise".

Fisher added: "They are made possible by the advent of quite complex social media forms on the internet, and the defendant set about something that no normal, decent human being would do."