Reece Elliot has been sentenced to two years four months in jail (Tyneside Police)
Reece Elliot has been sentenced to two years four months in jail (Tyneside Police)

A British man who admitted threatening to kill 200 people in the US on Facebook has been jailed for more than two years.

Self-confessed internet troll Reece Elliott, 24, pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to making a threat to kill and sending grossly offensive messages.

In a series of posts under a false name, Elliott, of South Shields, threatened to shoot 200 people at Warren County High in Tennessee in comments he added to a Facebook memorial page for a schoolgirl who died in car accident.

He wrote: "My father has three guns. I'm planning on killing him first and putting him in a dumpster. Then I'm taking the motor and I'm going in fast.

"I'm gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself. So you want to tell the deputy: I'm on my way.

"I'm killing 200 people minimum at school. I will be on CNN."

Schools in Warren County, Tennessee, went into lockdown after Eliott had made the threat. Some 3,000 pupils missed school the day after the postings.

Elliott posted the threat in the weeks after the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newton, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were killed. Fears about school security were still running high.

Elliott said of Caitlin Talley, the girl who died in the road accident: "I'm glad the fat b***h is dead. Let's drink to go drink driving. No-one gives a s**t that she's dead, get over it. If I was there now I would rape you."

He also wrote to one 15-year-old girl: "You have been chosen tomorrow at school to receive one of my bullets."

Judge James Goss QC, the Recorder of Newcastle, told Eliott the offences were driven by "no more than self-indulgent nastiness" and sentenced him to 28 months in jail.

Det Chief Insp Ged Noble said: "It was established that Elliott did not pose any physical threat to any schools, either here or in America.

"However, his actions were extremely worrying and distressing for the families involved and clearly crossed the line into criminal behaviour."

"Investigating reports of criminal behaviour on social network sites has its challenges but we have staff who are trained in navigating these systems and identifying who the offenders are.

"New guidelines on dealing with people who post offensive messages using social media have been released by the Director of Public Prosecutions and we will continue to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to take action against those who cross the line from their right to free speech to committing criminal offences".