A gay performer has won his case against an internet bully who hounded him with messages of an “abusive nature” which he claimed were a joke.
Thomas Matthews, who pleaded guilty to harassing Miguel Diaz, was issued with an indefinite restraining order by a magistrates court in Swansea.
Mr Diaz, who performs as a woman under the stage name Lady Imelda, met Mr Matthews in a chatroom on the Gaydar website.
According to prosecuting solicitor Julie Sullivan, although Mr Matthews sent “amusing” messages at first, “they subsequently turned abusive”.
Mr Matthews also published Mr Diaz’s telephone number on the site which resulted in numerous unwanted phone calls.
Even reporting Mr Matthews’s behaviour to Gaydar’s moderators did not end the harassment, as he simply changed his name and continued to use the site.
“On one occasion, the defendant sent him a message that he would turn up at one of his gigs,” Mrs Sullivan said, according to thisisswansea.co.uk
“The complainant then feared he would turn up at his workplace and so cancelled his weekend gigs in Wales.”
When police finally traced Mr Matthews to his home in Swansea, he denied any intention to cause distress to Mr Diaz.
Mrs Sullivan said: “He admitted he was a gay male and admitted posting the messages.
“He said that he had not intended to frighten him.”
Defending his client, solicitor John Clayton said that Mr Matthews’s actions had got out of hand.
“This started off as a joke,” he said.
“It seems that somewhere between April and September, Mr Diaz has taken it seriously.
“Mr Matthews didn’t mean to cause offence and it was a joke which has obviously misfired.”
Matthews has since received a two-year conditional discharge, a restraining order and paid £1,725 in compensation to Mr Diaz for his loss of earnings.