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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 18 September, 2019

Sky News reporter says he was devastated McCann Twitter troll killed herself after he exposed her

Her body was found in a hotel room two days after she featured in the Sky News report.

SKY NEWS REPORTER Martin Brunt told an inquest today he was devastated to hear about the death of Brenda Leyland after he exposed her for abusing the parents of Madeleine McCann.

The 63-year-old posted thousands of messages attacking the McCanns on Twitter behind the anonymous @sweepyface account. She faced widespread condemnation after her actions were reported.

Her body was found in a hotel room two days after she featured in the Sky News report.

According to the BBC, Brunt told the hearing he kept Layland informed of his plans because he was aware it could have an impact. He had planned on picturing her but not naming her.

The coroner asked the correspondent if there was anything which indicated a concern for her life. Brunt said:

No, but when I asked her how she was, she said ‘oh I have thought about ending it all but I am feeling better – I have had a drink and spoken to my son’.

He said he thought her comments were a throwaway remark and had no knowledge about her history with depression.

Speaking about he death he said, “I was devastated and I still am and the enormity of what’s happened will always be with me.”

He also told the coroner, “Mrs Leyland said she was concerned that the McCanns had left Madeleine and her siblings alone and that Twitter was a mean to express feelings and she hoped she had not done anything unlawful.”

The inquest heard she posted 400 tweets about the McCann family between November 2013 and September 2014.

Inquest to open into McCann 'troll' Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tweets from the account had said that the McCanns should suffer “for the rest of their miserable lives”.

Coroner Catherine Mason concluded Leyland had killed herself.

The Guardian reports that Jonathan Levy, senior manager at Sky News, said the approach was in line with the broadcaster’s guidelines on doorstepping and that the story was “firmly in the public interest”.

Read: Woman accused of “trolling” McCann parents believed to have been found dead>

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