A convicted thug unhappy about seeing his local paper splash on his court case got a second helping of publicity after the editor decided to feature abusive social media messages he sent the paper.
Footballer Nathan McIntosh hit the headlines of the West Briton, which led on a decision by magistrates to lift his curfew to allow him to go on a month-long holiday to Thailand.
Clearly displeased with the decision, McIntosh posted a topless picture of himself in the holiday resort to Instagram, challenging the paper to do the same again, with the caption: “Put this on the front of the West Briton” before adding an expletive.
But the taunt backfired when the paper decided to do just that – sparking a string of further abusive messages on Twitter.
Editor Richard Best said he believed the story was in the public interest as it showed McIntosh’s attitude to his ‘punishment’.
“I just felt that readers ought to see what justice seems to mean at the moment,” he said.
“It was like he was daring us. He obviously seems to think it’s funny, and a group of his mates seem to think it’s funny as well – but I don’t think many others would agree.
“I wanted to highlight how the so-called ‘punishment’ was being viewed. He’s having a laugh really.”
He said the first story had been promoted to the front page after a sub-editor spotted it among the court news-in-briefs.
“Then, when we spoke to the magistrates bench, they told us they thought their decision was absolutely right,” he added.
“Their view seemed to be that he is being punished by being deprived of his liberty at some point, so it didn’t matter when exactly that was.
“It just struck me as obscene that the ‘punishment’ would be postponed to fit in with his lifestyle.”
The second article prompted another series of abusive messages, with McIntosh seeming to bask in his notoriety in a Twitter posting to a friend.
Richard said he had no plans to pursue the saga further, but said he was glad the story had been brought to the public’s attention.