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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Internet user admits 'web-rage'
The pair met in an online chatroom
An internet user has been found guilty of what police said was Britain's first "web-rage" attack.

Paul Gibbons, 47, tracked down John Jones using details obtained online after the pair exchanged insults in an internet chatroom, a court heard.

He travelled 70 miles to Mr Jones' home in Clacton, Essex, and beat him up with a pickaxe handle in December 2005.

Gibbons, of Southwark, south London, admitted unlawful wounding and will be sentenced on 7 November.

Threatening exchanges

The pair met in an internet chatroom called Yahoo, Islam 10 as both had an interest in the Muslim faith, the Old Bailey was told.

Their exchanges soured after Gibbons accused Mr Jones of spreading rumours about him.

This is the first instance of a web-rage attack
Det Cons Christopher Creagh

"There was an exchange of views between the victim and the defendant which were threatening on both sides," said prosecutor Ibitayo Adebayo.

Gibbons, a man with a violent past, traced Mr Jones to his home using personal details about himself that he had put online.

Cut with a knife

Gibbons arrived at Mr Jones' home armed and accompanied by another man carrying a machete, the court heard.

Mr Jones, whose partner and three children were in the house, opened the door holding a knife for protection, said Mr Adebayo.

A fight broke out during which Mr Jones was disarmed and beaten with the pickaxe handle and cut with the knife.

Gibbons fled after the victim's partner called for help. Mr Jones suffered cuts to his head, neck and hands.

Identity safety

Det Cons Christopher Creagh, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "This is the first instance of a web-rage attack."

Det Sgt Jean-Marc Bazzoni, of Essex Police, added the case demonstrates the importance of protecting one's identity on the internet.

"Mr Jones had posted pictures of his family on the web and had chatted to Gibbons on an audio link," he said.

"It demonstrates how easily other users can put two and two together and also shows how children could also find themselves in danger."

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