'DSN associate' threatens Croydon schoolboy with homemade weapon on Twitter
THIS menacing picture of a makeshift bayonet – posted on the internet alongside a threat to plunge it into a Croydon schoolboy – has sparked a police investigation.
The image, uploaded on an account whose owner claims to be affiliated with the notorious Croydon-based Don't Say Nothin' (DSN) gang, was posted on Monday, before several apparent death threats were made directly to the boy after the two exchanged a series of confrontational tweets.
News of the police probe comes as one knife crime charity says online threats by gangs and bullies is on the increase.
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Alongside the near 1ft-long knife attached to a long handle was a post warning: "**** will feel the wrath of my sword.
"I have to enforce justice. Because without justice. We are savages. – Jesus".
Further threats made to the student, who other users said attends a Croydon school, included:
"Im beginning to scare myself. I actually might kill this child. Like in all seriousness"
"now that i know I'm definitely going to jail regardless. i may aswell kill you? right?"
"do you know how much everybody hates you? Nobody is defending you. Don't you have any older brothers or family to help you out?"
"im gonna make you dance round Croydon naked and all your friends will laugh at you. Go out like a man. Battle me"
"I'm actually gonna snap you in half. like I'm actually going to break you"
The purported gang affiliate, who has thousands of followers and an open profile, also asked his victim to "visualise" him having sex with his mother.
The majority of threats were made directly by using the @ function.
In response the schoolboy tweeted: "fair enough if you're annoyed by me but what have I done to you honestly? Are you gonna hunt and kill a schoolboy over twitter?"
He added: "I would advise to delete the pictures of weapons you tweeted because I swear if I see you outside my school, it is jailtime 4 u"
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We have been made aware of some tweets and officers are carrying out further checks on these. Enquiries continue."
Monique Rebeiro, director of Lives Not Knives, a Croydon anti-knife campaign group, said social media is increasingly being used by bullies to make threats.
She said: "With the rise in people using Twitter compared to say a year ago, you're getting a rise in the number of people using it in this way."
The charity's founder, Eliza Rebeiro, 19, said: "It's disgusting to see the way Twitter is being used by certain people. We have heard lots of stories recently, in the press as well, about cyber-bullying and online threats.
"The person who sent this knife should be questioned about his actions. The boy who received that message may be very scared.
"This type of online activity needs to be taken more seriously, and more needs to be done to find ways of stopping people posting this kind of material online."
Even more worrying, said Miss Rebeiro, was the number of other users who appeared to encourage the person making the threats.
One user posted: "I strongly urge u lots to follow this guy, he will guarantee u banter!" Another said of the exchange: "I don't even know what's going on but you guys should just blade battle it out."
A report into last year's riots published by the Metropolitan Police in March this year – 4 Days In August – found the force needed to expand its understanding of social media in order to prevent organised crime.