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Tsunami E-mail Hoaxer Jailed

A hoaxer who e-mailed the families of people caught up in the Asian tsunami telling them their relatives were dead has been jailed for six months. Christoper Pierson, 40, from Lincolnshire, was arrested on New Year's Eve after sending 35 e-mails.

He sent the messages from an AOL account after reading pleas for information on the Sky News website. Pierson pretend the address - ukgovfoffice@aol.com - belonged to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which was co-ordinating contact with families of missing Brits. At Bow Street Magistrates Court, he had previously admitted one count of public nuisance and a charge under the Malicious Communications Act, describing his offence as "a moment of madness".

Magistrates told Pierson the "emotional hell" he had put people through was "indescribable". The offence showed an element of planning, they added as he was sentenced.

View: BBC Coverage

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