A weekly newspaper has named and shamed commuters who took to Twitter to mock a man who was killed after being struck by a train.
The Brentwood Gazette published a front page story alongside a stream of tweets from angry commuters delayed by around three hours while staff recovered the body of 51-year-old Neil Roeper on Monday morning.
Despite the tragic nature of the situation, several railway commuters posted messages venting their anger over the death of the father-of-two for making them late to work
The town’s name of ‘Brentwood’ began to trend on the social media site after around 1,000 messages were posted in the aftermath of the incident.
One user wrote: “News says “killed”. I Don’t care tho not when It took 4 hours to travel 10 miles.”
Another who describes himself as “untouchable” posted: “And to whoever committed suicide in brentwood, I hope you go to hell”.
A Liam Hicks (@LiammmmHicks) wrote: “Nice to know some c**k has jumped infront of a train at Brentwood.. F*****g Mondays. #HangYourself #Selfish”
Lord Lancaster (@R_Lancaster) added: “Someone got hit at Brentwood. Somebody’s going to get hit on this train if it doesn’t move soon.”
Other distasteful comments included commuters who described the man as ‘selfish’ and complained his death had delayed journeys to work.
The incident was followed up with the Gazette running a front page story which included an interview with Jessica Larsh, 25, whose brother Rodney who was found dead at Shenfield railway station over Christmas last year.
News editor Alan Woods said that the response of readers to the front page story had been positive.
“The Gazette Twitter feed was buzzing on Monday following the tragic rush hour incident at Brentwood station, with commuters looking to our site for information about the closure of one of the busiest routes from Essex into the capital,” he said.
“There were several messages of condolence from users and tweets saying their thoughts were with the family of the person who died – but unfortunately, these were a minority.
“We soon found, through a search of our town’s name that trended for a period of time, there were some truly horrible messages.
“Some of the tweets were heartless, thoughtless and saddening. The edition simply held a mirror up to incident, which is how we’d hoped the headline would portray it. It definitely highlighted the dark side of social media.”
The newspaper featured five of the most offensive tweets on its front page and a handful more were published across a double-page spread inside.
“It was also decided to publish a selection of the ‘nice tweets,’ expressing sympathy, as well as the damning, negative messages,” added Alan.
“The feedback we have received via telephone, email and the social networks has been generally positive.
“Our front page has been described as ‘thought-provoking’ and I have taken calls from readers this week who say they don’t usually buy the Gazette, but were drawn in by the tweets on the front page.”
After initially declaring the stretch of track a crime scene, British Transport Police confirmed Mr Roeper’s death was not being treated as suspicious.
An inquest into Mr Roeper’s death is due to open today.