A WOMAN accused of abusing the family of Madeleine McCann online, has been found dead in a hotel room in Leicester, in the UK.

Brenda Leyland, 63, was accused by a Sky News reporter of using Twitter to post a series of abusive messages attacking the McCanns.

Leyland is said to have fled the rural village where she had lived for 15 years, the day after being confronted by the reporter.

However no direct link has yet been established between the confrontation and her death, which police are not treating as suspicious.

Her son, Ben Leyland, posted on her Facebook: “I love you mum, and I will miss you forever.”

In the report aired last week, Leyland was accused of being one of dozens to aim online abuse at Kate and Gerry McCann, who daughter Maddie disappearing in Portugal in May 2007.

When crime correspondent Martin Brunt asked why she had posted the message, she responded: “I’m entitled to.”

Leyland then invited the reporter into her home and explained off-camera that she ‘had questions for the McCanns’ but ‘hoped she hadn’t broken the law’ in the online posts.

Metropolitan police, who are investigating the allegations of online abuse, wrote to those accused of sending the messages: “In consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service and the McCann family, the material will now be assessed and decisions made.”


  1. It’s very sad bit it’s difficult to have sympathy for her … for her family yes of course, and for anyone she hurt with her poisonous comments and views. A lesson for others who feel similarly free to offend and hurt with hitherto impunity!

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