First there was Road-rage now Web-rage, what’s next?

Man jailed for ‘Web-rage’ attack

LONDON, England (Reuters) — A British man said to have carried out the country’s first “Web rage” attack was jailed for 2-1/2 years on Friday for assaulting a man with whom he had exchanged insults over the Internet.

Paul Gibbons, 47, from south London, admitted he had attacked John Jones in December 2005 after months of exchanging abuse with him via an Internet chat room dedicated to discussing Islam.

London’s central criminal court heard that Gibbons had “taken exception” to Jones, 43, after Jones alleged that Gibbons had been “interfering with children.”

After several more verbal and written exchanges, during which Jones threatened to track down Gibbons and give him a severe beating, Gibbons and a friend went to his victim’s house in Essex, east of London, armed with a pickaxe and a machete.

Jones himself was armed with a knife but Gibbons seized it from him, held it to his throat and “scratched” him across the neck, the court was told.

Gibbons, who the court heard had previous convictions for “violent offenses,” pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding on the first day of his trial last month.

Other charges of attempted murder and issuing online threats to kill four other chatroom users were not pursued but could be reactivated in future if he reoffends.

Media reports said it was Britain’s first “web-rage” attack and Judge Richard Hawkins said the circumstances were “unusual.”

“This case highlights the dangers of Internet chat rooms, particularly with regard to giving personal details that will allow other users to discover home addresses,” said Detective Sergeant Jean-Marc Bazzoni of Essex Police.

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