Hopton man sent threatening message on Facebook after posting video of car’s near miss

The threatening message was sent on Facebook. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The threatening message was sent on Facebook. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A Facebook user has appeared in court for sending a threatening message on the social media platform which he posted after uploading a video of his car in a near miss with a child.

Steven Wain, 37, of Old Church Road, Hopton, pleaded guilty at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court this week to sending a communication conveying a threatening message.

On Friday, January 29, Wain was driving along Coast Road in Hopton when a young child ran out in front of his car. He braked hard to avoid hitting him.

The incident was recorded on his car's dash cam – a camera which records the road ahead of the front windscreen.

He later uploaded the video onto Facebook.

The post was then seen by the child's father, who made a complaint to the police because his family were upset by the comments.

The father also contacted Wain on Facebook asking him to remove the footage.

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In his reply, Wain sent a message which read: 'I shouldn't have used the brakes. I should have run over the brat.'

He then threatened to smash up the father's car and told him he knew where he lived.

Wain was contacted by police and he made further threats to an officer, was arrested and made a full admission.

Josephine Jones, prosecuting, said: 'This is a rather unusual case that perhaps shows what can happen when social media is used badly.'

Lucy Brakewell, mitigating, said Wain had decided to upload the footage as a warning to parents to keep hold of their children by the roadside, as he was 'incandescent' the child had been allowed to run into the road.

She added Wain suffered from bipolar disorder, and said: 'This goes some way to explaining his illogical behaviour. He dealt with the situation in a way others would not have.'

She said since the incident Wain has been in contact with his psychiatrist, and she added: 'Clearly he does have quite severe mental health issues and is doing what is right in seeking help.'

Sue Craske, from the probation service, said Wain's bipolar and mental health issues went some way to explaining what she called his 'bizarre erratic behaviour.'

The week before the incident, Wain had experienced severe vomiting and was unable to take his medication, she said, and: 'While this does not excuse what he did at the time, it does go some way to explaining his thought processes and subsequent actions.'

Stan Chapman, chairman of the magistrates' bench, said Wain could have walked away a hero after he avoided hitting the child. Instead he undertook actions that were totally unacceptable.

He added: 'Facebook is a wonderful thing in some ways, and diabolical in others.'

The magistrates imposed a two-year conditional discharge and ordered Wain to pay a total of £200 in compensation, £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

A conditional discharge means he will not be punished for the crime but will be punished for it if he commits another offence within the next two years.