Friday, September 15, 2023

Social misdemeanour


Matthew Steeples suggests that the death of Brenda Leyland should be a lesson to the media


Brenda Leyland, if she was indeed the source of the “online campaign of vitriol” against Gerry and Kate McCann, should not have acted as she did but equally, Sky News should not have outed her so publicly last week. With revelations that Mrs Leyland has been found dead at the Leicester Marriott Hotel, the resulting consequences are very clear.


Brenda Leyland
Brenda Leyland

Given that Mrs Leyland had neither been arrested nor charged with any offence by the police, Sky News’ handling of the allegations that they made was undoubtedly inappropriate. Repeated all day on their channel as a “main news item”, this minor one minute conversation morphed into a more significant piece of news than it truly was and led to such vitriolic media mouthpieces as the Mirror’s Carole Malone writing:


“[Brenda Leyland’s] a cowardly bully who hides behind her smart front door and spews her bile in secret because she doesn’t have the guts to do it in public”.


“This piece of work… wasn’t quite so brave… when news cameras approached her. She looked like a frightened rabbit (typical). But as she was running away (also typical) she said she thought she was entitled to do what she’d done”.


Undoubtedly it was having to see and read such that led to Mrs Leyland fleeing her home and committing suicide. She may or may not have sent Mr and Mrs McCann inappropriate messages, but the allegations reported as “fact” had not been proven. These allegations had come from Twitter users who support the McCanns rather than the police and just as they have the right to support the couple, those who have differing views about what happened to poor Madeleine McCann – within the realms of the law – have the right to share their opinions too.


Sky News, Martin Brunt and the likes of Carole Malone have blood on their hands: That is what should be playing on the “Breaking News” ticker.



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    1. I disagree. This disgraceful person acted in an extremely aggressive and offensive manner, and if she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have been sought out by the media, and thus ended her life. As the saying goes, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Let this be a lesson to other ‘trolls’

      • You are utterly wrong: Nothing had been proven against Brenda Leyland. She was confronted by a Sky News reporter, Martin Brunt, whose stock story is the McCanns and he went on a dossier compiled by supporters of the couple. He did not have impartially collated material and the police had not visited Leyland at that juncture either. Sky News made this non-story news and then hounded this plainly troubled woman to her death. Your comments are abhorrent and heartless. Shame on you.

      • If you have the courage of your convictions then put your name to what you have
        wrote, as right now you are hiding behind anonymity. Lets not forget if they had not left 3 young children on their own for not just 1 but many nights to go out drinking this would not have happened

      • Then lets hope Tatiana you are never anywhere so dark that there seems no other way out. Martin Brunt stalked Brenda before he accosted her, probably checking to see she didnt have a burly man around, the coward. Brenda had not sent txts as Malone reported, she tweeted as do 1000s, her tweets were not threatening, she simply did not believe the mccanns story as 1000s dont. The mccanns do not go on twitter, G mccann stated that at the weekend so, how could anyones tweets offend someone when they dont actually see them. Martin Brunt had no right doorstepping Brenda, if and its a big if, she had done anything then it was down the police to deal with it not MSM. In the end Carol Malone,with that foul story became herself a ‘troll’. She will say she had the right to call Brenda vicious names and make cruel assumptions so what exactly was the difference in what she did to what Brenda was accused of…

      • What a disgusting comment, how can anyone say suicide is cowardly. Who know what goes through a persons mind when they can see no way out of a situation except self destruction. It is one of the most used misinformed comments to make about an apparent suicide, until the coroner returns a verdict then it will be apparent suicide. Brenda Leyland must have been in a dark place to apparently take her own life, none of know what it feels like to be so desperate that taking ones life is a solution to a problem. As far as I can see Brenda was not actually charged with anything, convicted of anything except in the minds of Sky news, who are not judge and jury but the modern media have moved away from reporting news to creating news.

      • What a singularly crass comment. How on earth can you make such a generalised statement, without regard to the particular circumstances that precipitates someone in to taking such a decision.
        I have always thought you a rather foolish person: that comment of yours consolidates my perception.

    2. Shocking really Mccanns playing the victim when all this is there fault you don’tb leave a child or children on there own. How many more people have to be hurt due to them vile people

    3. Anon this lady’s only crime was to state and I quote I hope the MCCANNS suffer for the rest of their miserable lives now that very same quote was used by kate McCann against the Portuguese police officer amaral who may I add has suffered at the very hands of the same people you now put on a pedastill,this lady has a right to stay anonymous until she had been proved guilty by a court of law.peodophiles get more anominimity than this lady got her face all over sky news all day when I might add other more important things were going on it the world THE BEHEADING OF ALAN AND THE BODY OF ALICE BEEN FOUND IN THE RIVER. I don’t hide behind ANON my name is correct and no I don’t believe the MCCANNS am I therefore a troll.

      • What is shocking is that people are standing up for someone whose past time – ‘allegedly’ – so no one argues about this anymore, (but why would Sky cover this if she didn’t do it? They have TOO much to lose to get these matters wrong) – was trolling people on the internet whilst hiding behind an anonymous screen name, not brave enough to reveal her true identity, and when it was revealed she didn’t have the moral courage to admit she has published this material.
        I cannot believe the amount of people jumping to her defence! I thought everyone who read this blog were broadly educated and well rounded individuals, not out to target the McCann’s and defend someone who looks as evil as she sounds

        I too think they were stupid to leave their children alone but I do hope that everyone here never has anything as life changing as the McCann’s had happen to them, as everyone makes mistakes in their life, and they are having to pay for their mistake every day of their life.
        This news article isn’t about them though, it’s about a cowardly woman posting vitriolic messages under a pseudonym who couldn’t face the backlash that was coming her way. I’m afraid to say that her way out of this was a cowardly as her messages that got her into the spotlight in the first place.
        *Light the blue touchpaper*

        • quote but why would Sky cover this if she didn’t do it? unquote. Anyone who blindly believes the MSM deserves to be deceived.

          First enlighten yourself before you form an opinion.

          The woman never “trolled”. Her worst tweet being that she hoped the McCann’s “suffered for the rest of their miserable lives”. I share that hope with her. The destruction the McCanns have caused trying to cover up their neglicent behavior, lack of search effort, obstruction of the police, continuimg lying, make me say that too.

          Even if you don’t like that: it’s an opinion, not a threat. This is a threat: “Gerry McCann Says Make Example Of Web Trolls”. It costs a woman here life. Thanks Gerry, quite a master of healing you are.

    4. I don’t believe the McCanns are guilty (I worked with them). I do accept that people are entitled to their personal opinions, but that’s what they should remain – personal. Tweeting is a hoorible and cheap way of wounding others. Nonetheless, Mrs Leyland has taken what she believed was her only way out from these unproven allegations against her. I only hope Mr & Mrs McCann never feel they have to take the same step to avoid malicious trolls.

      • It is a sad end to a story that should never have been aired. Martin Brunt should have waited to see if Mrs Leyland was either questioned, arrested or charged with any crime. He turned her into a “troll” and Carole Malone aided and abetted him. The shame truly is on this pair.

    5. It seems to me that the pro McCann lobby are keen to make more untruths into fact. I only saw Brenda make mildest comments and express disagreement over what was put out by the Drs McCann, given the indications of the sniffer dogs (who in different work protect us daily) and the total lack of evidence of any abduction. The doctors and their team of experts have altered their story consistently and attempted to debunk what is more than likely true. Frankly I see a scene from a horror film. Why was Brenda targeted, and still targeted after her demise with offensive language? I hope that the doctors will, in the end, have to answer questions that they are unwilling to address up to now. Thanks to Matthew for your post and objective view. [EDITED FOR LEGAL REASONS]

    6. We may never know what tipped that poor woman over the edge, just as we wont know what was said to her inside her own home when she invited Brunt inside after she finally gave in to being hounded by him. She was filmed driving away but was filmed again inviting Brunt into her home. Did he follow her or did he set up camp until she returne? The Guardin News took the time to read all her tweets and reported after doing so. I suggest you take the time to read their report and you will see what an unbiased report should read like. A great pity that Brunt and Carole Malone’s savage attack didn’t do the same. Sky did state that Ms. Layland’s comments were not the worst, so why did they pick on her? Is it because she lived close to the Mccann’s? G. McCann’s opinion is that something needs to be done & more people charged, or words to that effect, for once, in a round about way, I agree with him!!! Remember the nurse found dead after answering a hoax call asking about the Duchess of Cambridge. She too had her face all over the news non stop and she too killed herself.

    7. If the McCanns had been poor working class UK ‘chavs’ then the whole country would have thrown everything at them and hounded them to Hell and back. Because this was a middle class couple of GP’s they have managed to hide behind counsel and their intelligence to ward of any attacks by people like this and the media. What Brenda was simply doing was stating what everyone in the country thinks and that is it is not acceptable to leave your young children alone in a strange house in a foreign country and go out and let your hair down drinking alcohol? No doubt Brenda wouldn’t have done it and neither would I. The fact that someone has taken their own life because of the action of these GP’s in the first place is further testimony to the fact that Mr & Mrs McCann should have thought about the consequences of their actions when as intelligent people they decided to neglect their children and allow one of them to be carried off into the night, they had a duty of care to their children to protect them? But again as they are white middle class and British then they can defend themselves to the hilt unlike poor Brenda or the MCanns daughter? Sadly missing and presumed dead because of her parents errors. Not anyone’s errors theirs. We are all just caught up in their mistakes and the McCanns as fine upstanding white middle class people are not very good at admitting when they are wrong? >?

      • There is much sense in what you say. It has always seemed extraordinary to me that they did employ a child minder for the evening. I imagine there would have been young students available.

    8. Extract from MailOnline article;

      “She sent 4,625 messages, almost all of which were about the McCanns.

      This year alone she had sent 2,136 tweets and on some days she would send more than 50 messages attacking the McCanns’ behaviour, including their use of public donations and their decision to sue their critics.”

      If this isn’t trolling, what is?! I have said my piece.

      Read more:
      Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

      • If you check out the mccann# on Twitter you will find many trolls who support the McCanns and these are most vicious of all. Take a look at the 41.4 THOUSAND tweets posted up by one alfibab3 – all just on mccann#, all abusive, some make threats to “come round and sort you out”, “my hubby will be round to sort you out”. Then look at Tiger_Loaf, TheJENReturns and the particularly vile Jayelles1, widely suspected of being behind the Dossier which contained cherry picked & much edited information.

        Brenda was not like this, issued no threats, has since been proved NOT to be a troll and yet you will support trolls like alfibab & co.

        • yeah this alfibab3 followed me today – I followed her back and asked whether she would leave her grandchildren at 1 and 3 year old unattended. she said none of my business and said she would block me for being anti mccann

          why follow me you weird old lady – you saw me admit to being a troll… I think she is a spy – I still get the whole feeling of the one who dealt it smelt it on this … stuck in a quandary of who’s fault it is, these are together which means they must blame themselves. I am sure they think the loss of a child is enough punishment for their misguided evening – but that is like punching someone then saying “ouch, I hurt my hand” to avoid being punched back.


    9. Was it really suicide, or did the evil paediphile ring run by the British government get to her first. Did Brenda Leyland know a lot more about the McCanns than whan she said on twitter. The mystery of the McCanns deepens.

    10. We need a Miss Marples to find the killers of Brenda Leyland and “quick” before more innocent people get knocked off by the establisment.

    11. Many people are anon on twitter i believe and how do you know if Brenda had, had the chance she wouldn’t have said this to the MacCanns face also i saw lots of worse posts than Brenda made she was just having her opinion and i thought we were all entitled to free speech.
      There are a lot of unanswered questions about the Madeline MacCan case and until Madeline is found there always will be.

    12. What makes me angry is hounding a respectable pensioner who by all accounts has been a well respected lady to the point of her taking her own life.
      We have radicals spouting worse and threatening all of us every day i don’t see them confronting these people.

      And what was said to Brenda behind closed doors for instance if they had impied she would go to jail for years for her tweet and being in her
      60’s maybe she was scared out of her mind by the thought of maybe dying in jail and suicide was her only option
      I know i wouldn’t like to spend even a year in jail and so i can understand maybe how frightened she was.
      They should not have done what they did she didn’t deserve that.

    13. Trial by media MUSt be stopped. I for one am sick to the back teeth of the media trying to “Make” the news instead of just reporting it. ANY criminal activity on the part of Ms Leyland should have been sent straight to the police. I doubt there was any to be found. Obsessive people are a nuisance – but that’s it. In this case it appears that the woman was hounded on her doorstep by an aggressive “Troll-Clique” that had it in for her – using Brunt as its tool.

      Shades of David Kelly! I hope Brunt et al at Sky feel proud of themselves. They have been used as cat’s paws I hope they realise they were “used”.


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