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Government to stand up to trolls, quadrupling maximum prison term to two years

Online trolls who barrack their victims with spiteful (and beyond spiteful) comments are going to face potentially heavier prison sentences for their actions.

According to a Mail on Sunday report, the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said that a new maximum jail term of two years will come into force for the most heinous offenders. That quadruples the current maximum term of six months, showing the government is getting more serious about punishing net surfers for any malice they dish out online.

The move comes after a number of cases where trolling has sunk to sickening levels, including the recent case of rape threats made against Chloe Madeley (the daughter of Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan – the latter of which made some controversial comments about Ched Evans, a professional footballer who was convicted of rape, that sparked the trolling).

Grayling told the newspaper: "These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence."

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He added: "This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years."

Just an hour ago, Chloe Madeley released her full statement on her Twitter account, which read: "The tweets I received this week were frightening, persistent, violent and sadly, far too easy to make on a public forum. I am pleased the government are now talking about ways to deter trolls, and quadrupling the sentencing is a good place to start."

The changes in the law will be made via an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is currently on its way through Parliament.