Police called over online abuse

Donna Hall
Donna Hall

A Wigan man has been blasted for posting an “appalling” image comparing a council leader to Adolf Hitler.

Police visited the home of Paddy McCrory twice in as many days after he uploaded the doctored image of Wigan Council chief executive Donna Hall, sporting the Nazi dictator’s moustache.

The Atherton resident put the picture online last Wednesday, in response to a blog post which made numerous unfounded allegations about Ms Hall.

It had been online for less than two hours when two officers turned up at his address in Martlew Drive and demanded he take the photo down.

He did so after being warned that he was committing a serious offence, but an officer had to revisit him the following morning after he posted comments criticising “a total waste of an already stretched police force’s time.”

Police warned him he could be have been prosecuted for an offence under the 2013 Communications Act of sending a grossly offence message.

Wigan Council today strongly condemned the post and Mr McCrory’s online conduct.

A spokesman said: “Likening someone to a person who was responsible for the Holocaust and the deaths of millions of innocent lives is not only disrespectful, but appalling behaviour.

“The police were so disgusted by the actions of the individual responsible that they filed a crime report immediately.”

Mr McCrory said: “I’m not a criminal.

“I just feel awful about wasting police time, because they were very polite and nice about it.”

But he also defended his decision to create the mock up, adding: “It was satirical. It was petty, but that’s all.

“Maybe it was stupid to put the photo online, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal.

He told the Observer that he put the picture up due to his own run ins with Ms Hall and the council over the closure of Formby Hall.