Lord McAlpine, the former Conservative Party treasurer wrongly named as a paedophile by people on Twitter, has made a formal complaint to Scotland Yard
By Steven Swinford
This morning the peer asked police to investigate potentially thousands of people who used the website to make “malicious communications” against him but have failed to apologise.
The police complaint could lead to mass prosecution, fines and criminal records for people who wrote about him online.
Scotland Yard said that officers will begin “scoping” whether any offence has taken place but said it is “too early” to say whether a criminal investigation will take place.
Lord McAlpine has promised to take on the “Twittering fraternity” and to force people to “start thinking about what they are saying” before posting messages.
Last week the BBC, which wrongly linked him to allegations of sex abuse on Newsnight, settled with the peer for £185,000.
He is also seeking up to £500,000 in damages from ITV after This Morning presenter Philip Schofield showed a list of alleged Tory paedophiles to David Cameron.
Lord McAlpine’s lawyers have hired a team of experts to collate the offending Twitter messages, including those that have been deleted, as well as “re-tweets” in which one user republishes a message posted by someone else.
They have identified more than 1,000 people who sent their own tweets implying or directly saying he was a paedophile, and a further 9,0-00 who “retweeted” the claims of others.
Last week, Lord McAlpine said he was left “terrified” after becoming a figure of public hatred” because of people naming him as the subject of a BBC Newsnight report wrongly claiming a senior Tory was a paedophile…