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U.K. cops probe Internet "trolls" attacking McCanns

LONDON -- British police have confirmed they may take a dossier including dozens of pages of tweets, Facebook and other social media posts to prosecutors as evidence that people "trolling" the parents of Madeleine McCann on social media could be committing crimes.


As Martin Brunt of CBS News' partner network Sky News reports, there are many people who feel unable to forgive Gerry and Kate McCann for leaving their daughter asleep in their rented vacation house in Portugal in 2007. A door was left unlocked, and she disappeared from her room and has never been found.

The dossier, compiled by members of the public worried about the increasingly vitriolic abuse aimed at the McCanns, was turned over to police recently and has been seen by Sky News.

Among the posts online by the trolls -- some of whom have been identified and one of whom Brunt even confronts on the street in front of her home -- are calls for the couple to be assassinated, run over by vehicles, and almost endless doctored images of the McCanns, some of them very graphic.

"These 2 should burn in hell," "I will supply the petrol," "I'll supply the lighter - happily," read the posts on one message board, while others include direct threats; "We need some numbers for some assassins on taps," and "I hope that the McCanns are living in total misery" ... "I want to see them smashed up the back of a bus or trampled by horses," even one calling for "terrorists" to murder the couple.

The Metropolitan Police Service, or The Met as it's known in Britain, confirmed that it was taking the dossier to the nation's prosecutors.

"In consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and the McCann family the material will now be assessed and decisions made as to what further action if any should be undertaken," the Met said in a written statement.

The woman behind the public campaign to compile the dossier told Sky she did it because of the increasingly menacing nature of the posts, and the fact that Internet service providers appeared unwilling to block the content.

"As it steadily got worse, we were finding people going online who were claiming to live near the McCanns," the woman, who didn't want to be identified for fears over her own safety. "We're very worried that it's only going to take someone to act out some of these discussions, some of the threats that have been made. And we couldn't live with ourselves if that happened and we'd done nothing."