Leyland and her son Ben
The death of ‘Twitter troll’ Brenda
Leyland has caused a huge reaction from
members of the public and sparked a
passionate debate about social media and
The 63-year-old, from Burton Overy, who
was accused of being one of dozens of
people who sent abusive messages to the
parents of Madeleine McCann, Kate and
Gerry, was found dead at the Marriott
Hotel, in Smith Way, Enderby, on
Following the news, hundreds of people
have taken to social media to make
comments about her death, the abusive
messages to the McCanns and the way the
media has handled the situation.
Ms Leyland's son, Ben Leyland, who lives
in LA, was one of the first to post a
message and expressed his grief through
Facebook, saying: “I love you mum and
miss you forever”.
His friends and family offered messages
of condolence via social media, and
hundreds more have taken to the Internet
to express their views on the news.
Keith Osbourne was one of those paying
his respects to the Leicestershire
He posted: “Such sad news RIP BRENDA u
dint deserve death. Wunt be same not
seing u in Leicester.”
John Cawley also expressed his sorrow at
“Sad,” he wrote. “We have to admit that
social media is a drug just like real
drugs and alcohol.
“Don't judge this lady, judge the world
we live in. God bless her. RIP.”
Tanveer N Anisha Mohinudeen wrote: “Omg
so sad to hear. Going back to college
days n remembering Brenda she wasn't
like that but I guess pple chnge but
still sad tho.”
Other people have not been as
sympathetic, and have continued to
condemn the way she had allegedly
attacked the McCanns.
Daniella Ella wrote: “No disrespect to
her family but she was giving out
something she couldn't take!
“Bullying should not be tolerated in any
form and should always be exposed!!”
Lucy Willgress posted: “I'm sorry, but
anyone who attacks other people online
behind a facade (without knowing the
full story) is not a nice person.
She added: “I'm sorry for this woman's
family but she did what she
did...obviously couldn't face the music
for her own actions.”
Responding to the post, Sheetal N
Krupesh wrote: “She couldn't face the
music? Are u serious?
“Yes she may have said a few things that
maybe were taken out of term!!
“But she did not deserve to be hunted
down, stalked or harassed to the point
she had to take her life!”
Many have also blamed the press for the
death of Brenda Leyland.
Sky News reporter Martin Brunt, who
filmed her outside her home and
questioned her about the hateful
messages, has been receiving abuse from
people on Twitter.
Sarah Thomas (@ArsenalSarah) tweeted:
“Abhorrent hounding of a Woman who's
mental strength was obviously
unimportant to you.
“Shame on @Skynews @skymartinbrunt RIP #BrendaLeyland.”
Others have also expressed concerns
about how the media has gone about the
Commenting on the story on Facebook,
Abdul Khaled wrote: “These newspapers
are selfish and have no regards to
people's welfare all they are interested
in is chatting and spreading rubbish.”
Erica Justice Williams wrote: “Rupert
Murdoch's henchman should hang their
heads in shame!”
Who was Brenda Leyland?
Brenda Leyland, 63, had lived in Burton
Overy, in Leicestershire, for around 15
years, since 1999.
She was a church-going mother, with two
sons, Ben, 30, who now lives in Los
Angeles and his younger brother Dan, who
is believed to still live in
It is believed she was divorced but
still uses her married name of Leyland.
It has been reported that Ms Leyland was
educated at a convent school and studied
at Goldsmiths, University of London.