Fans of a sectarian Rangers podcaster who was jailed yesterday for racially abusing a female journalist have restarted their online hate attacks.
Angela Haggerty has been again threatened by online trolls who claim to support the Glasgow football team.
She said: “I am quite relieved that the case is over because it has been a very difficult 18 months. I am just so exhausted by the whole process and it is not something that I would like to go through again. I have spent a lot of time blocking much of the abuse from Twitter, but this has definitely changed my life.
“I used to be far more carefree than I was but now it is completely different. I can no longer call a cab in my own name because you simply don’t know who is going to be on the other end of the line. It is the same when booking an appointment in a hair salon. Having to think about things like that certainly changes you.
“I have a great job here at The Drum. Otherwise I’d probably have left Glasgow and gone elsewhere to work."
Haggerty was branded “Taig of the Day” by David Limond during his podcast on 20 September 2012 because she edited a book on the collapse of Rangers Football Club by journalist Phil Mac Giolla Bhain.
Taig is an offensive term used against people of an Irish Catholic background.
Speaking to Press Gazette, Haggerty said she cannot believe that other people are continuing their attacks after yesterday's court case.
Limond, 41, was yesterday jailed for six months following his conviction for religiously aggravated breach of the peace at Ayr Sheriff’s Court.
During his campaign against Haggerty, Limond urged his 20,000 followers to also target her online.
Following yesterday’s conviction, several of Limond’s followers decided to again start sending obscene messages to Haggerty, comparing the situation to 1930s Germany.
Even Alex Thomson of Channel Four News has been included in the online abuse because he has covered the issue of sectarianism in Scottish sport.
He earlier interviewed Haggerty about the nature of the attacks.
According to Haggerty, such attitudes in Scotland are sadly commonplace and people are not surprised when individuals are targeted for abuse.
She started receiving abuse after agreeing to edit Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s book Downfall on the collapse of Rangers FC.
The book’s publishers had expected the Scottish edition of The Sun to run a serialisation of the work, however, it is believed that pressure from Rangers fans in September 2012 prompted the newspaper to pull the story.
As a result Haggerty defended the book and became Limond’s target.
“I was completely unaware about this podcast before I started receiving abuse on Twitter. I clicked on a link from one of the abusive tweets and heard the podcast. It was vile and abusive. I started blocking all the accounts that were abusing me on Twitter. I didn’t save the links before blocking them.”
Donnacha DeLong of the National Union of Journalists was able to track down the original tweets and save the screen grabs. He also saved the audio from the podcast and forwarded the information onto the police.
Initially it seemed that Strathclyde Police were not going to take action against Limond on the basis of the tweets because they did not believe they passed the threshold for prosecution.
Haggerty said: “I couldn’t believe it. They never listened to the podcast and that is where the worst abuse was from. I sent them the link but they never clicked on it until after Alex Thomson from Channel 4 News interviewed me. I think that without Alex’s intervention, nothing would have happened because so many people here consider such actions normal.”
The case was eventually heard at Ayr Sheriff’s court in December 2013.
“It was very stressful. I was on the stand for around two hours. I think the defence tried to imply that I only reported the abuse to help my career. No one would have put themselves through this for a higher profile. It is not something anyone would do voluntarily ”
At yesterday's sentencing hearing Sheriff Pattison told Limond: "In the social enquiry report you accept that the abuse you directed at Miss Haggerty was vile. It was not only vile, it was racist and religious."
Limond's defence claimed the podcast was humour but this was dismissed by Pattison: "I reject your contention it was humorous."
As well as a six-month jail sentence, Pattison imposed a three-year non-harrassment order on Limond.
Police Scotland said they are not currently aware of any further abusive social media messages.
Paul Holleran Scottish organiser of the NUJ said: “This robust action by the justiciary sends a clear message to those individuals who think it is acceptable to bully, threaten and incite others to violence through the social media. The NUJ will continue to campaign against online bullying particularly where members are on the receiving end of abuse and threats merely for carrying out their professional duties as a journalist.
"Angela Haggerty was brave enough to challenge the abuser in this case and she is to be applauded for that. The NUJ encourages members to contact us or the police directly if they are subjected to any form of abuse and specifically threats of violence. Maybe individuals will think twice before they send hate messages via the various forms of media and this sentence will certainly focus minds.”