Police charge Lincoln man over malicious Facebook comments

A 22-year-old man from Lincoln has been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred on Facebook following the Woolwich attack in which a soldier has been killed.

He was arrested on Thursday night after police were notified of potentially racist comments on the social networking site.

Officers have charged Benjamin Flatters (22), of no fixed address from Lincoln, with an offence of malicious communications in relation to Facebook comments. He remains in police custody.

Lincolnshire Police also visited another local man and gave him a verbal warning.

The force said in a statement: “We have received a number of reports from local members of the public about tweets and Facebook comments that could potentially incite racial hatred and violence.

“These are currently being investigated. If such communications are reported to us and they do breach the law, those messages may be monitored, captured and robust police action will be considered.”

Two other men have been arrested for social media comments outside Lincolnshire following the Woolwich murder. A 23-year-old and a 22-year-old from Bristol were held under the public order act on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred.

The Saxilby connection

There is increased police presence in Saxilby after a house in the village was raided on Thursday in connection with the Woolwich attack

Marked and unmarked police vehicles are in the area while officers are also carrying out investigations at the house, thought to belong to the father of one of the suspected killers.

Lincolnshire Police Inspector Simon Outen reassured Saxilby residents.

Lincolnshire Police Inspector Simon Outen reassured Saxilby residents.

Inspector Simon Outen of Lincolnshire Police thanked residents in Saxilby for their cooperation and patience during investigations in the village (see video above).

West Lindsey District and County Councillor Jackie Brockway lives in Saxilby. She said: “Initially people were very surprised, as you don’t expect this sort of police interest in Saxilby.

“There was curiosity and a little bit of concern, but the police were very quick to allay people’s fears and to make them feel comfortable.

“I’ve been round checking various residents and it seems the police have even talked to people in their houses, so they’ve gone to a lot of trouble.

“The overall reaction is very calm, people have got on with their own lives.

“One or two residents have said that they are aware of the sister of one of the suspects, but what is interesting is that the [suspect’s] family really doesn’t seem to be known.

“This is a large village, but it’s a very friendly one, and it’s very difficult to understand why so few people know them.”