Brenda Leyland, 63, from Burton Overy,
Leicestershire, was said to be a "troll"
who had targeted the McCanns with
abusive messages on Twitter, and was
found dead in a hotel on Saturday.
This was after a
reporter confronted her outside her home
last week. It is thought that Sky News
may have used a dossier gathered by
supporters of the McCanns to help them
identify and find Leyland.
Channel 4 News has established
that supporters of the McCann family
have assembled at least 27 dossiers on
both anonymous "trolls" and on those who
are perceived to be "anti-McCann".
There is no indication at all of the
McCanns being involved in or endorsing
this activity themselves.
Gerry McCann last week told the
"Clearly something needs to be done
about the abuse on the internet. I'm
glad to say that there have been a
number of people where police have taken
The Metropolitan Police is investigating
the 80-page dossier that catalogues the
"hate campaign" against the McCann
family, which includes threats against
The dossiers found by Channel 4 News
have been created over a period of a
number of years about online internet
trolls who have targeted the McCanns.
They are hosted on a Wikipedia-style
site called "Mccann Hate Exposed". It
was removed from the web sometime in the
Channel 4 News has seen archived copies
of some page on the site that catalogue
online abuse against the McCann family
made by Twitter users.
The site seeks to track usernames and
identities across the web, noting what
usernames each person is using on sites
including YouTube and web forums, and it
includes details about their life in the
The information in the dossiers names
and unmasks some of the people who
criticise or attack the McCanns.
The owners of the site have yet to
respond to attempts made to contact
A dossier about Leyland's account "Sweepyface"
was hosted on the Wiki site, but i i's
unclear if this is the same dossier that
was handed to the police or the same
information that was used by Sky News.
When Leyland was confronted by the Sky
News reporter, it was put to her that
she had posted messages attacking the
family. She replied: "I'm entitled to do
The tweets levelled serious criticisms
of the McCanns' behaviour following the
disappearance of their daughter, as well
as abuse directed at the couple.
One tweet allegedly posted by @Sweepyface,
believed to be Leyland's Twitter account
name, said the McCanns had "never had it
Sky News issued a statement that says:
"We were saddened to hear of the death
of Brenda Leyland. It would be
inappropriate to speculate or comment
further at this time."
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman
said: "Ms Leyland's death is not being
treated as suspicious and a file is
being prepared for the Coroner.
McCann family spokesman Clarence
Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry will not
be saying anything. It is entirely a
matter for the police."