The mother of a murdered schoolgirl has told how internet trolls have sent death threats to her other children calling for them to be killed.
Pamela Munro, 39, lost daughter Paige Doherty, 15, in 2016 when she was knifed to death by a shopkeeper.
Mother-of-seven Pamela received anonymous messages saying her other children should ‘kill themselves’.
Another called for her family to ‘be murdered’ on the Facebook page of a charity she set up, Paige’s Promise, in her daughter’s memory.
Paige was killed by twisted John Leathem in his deli in March 2016 in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, who was jailed for a minimum of 23 years.
The charity in her name runs self-defence classes and offers holidays to bereaved families.
Pamela, from Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, said: ‘The messages my family receive on a regular basis are horrific.
‘I’ve been told my kids are ugly, that they should be hit by a bus, that they deserve to die like Paige.
Pamela Munro, the mother of 15-year-old Paige Doherty who was murdered by shop owner John Leathem, speaks outside the High Court in Glasgow in 2016
Murdered 15-year-old Paige Doherty (left) and her evil convicted killer John Leatham (right)
‘Anytime I post an update on my daughter’s charity page, I receive a string of dreadful messages about myself or my children.
‘The comments come from anonymous accounts and can’t be identified easily.
‘As a family, we’ve been through so much since Paige was taken from us.
‘I don’t know why any right-thinking person would set out to try and cause hurt to people who have already been through so much.
‘We just want the messages to stop, for good.
‘I tell my kids to ignore them and rise above them, but of course they are young and what they read has a terrible impact.
‘We’re a strong family and this won’t break us, but it is incredibly difficult to cope with.
‘I want to see tougher new laws introduced to catch and punish the people who send abuse online.
Paige Doherty with her mother Pamela Munro smiling happily together before the murder
Pamela Munro outside St Margaret’s Church in Clydebank after the funeral of Paige in 2016
‘Right now, it’s far too easy to hide behind a computer screen and be unaccountable for what you write.
‘It is about time something was done to introduce a proper deterrent.
‘If people knew they were going to face the full weight of the law, they would think twice before hitting the send button.
‘Things have to change.
‘There must be better ways of protecting victims of crime and holding these people to account – and punishing them when their identities are discovered.
‘Social media companies themselves need to look at better ways of policing their platforms.’
She recently welcomed baby Kailo, aged one, and said the family will make sure he knows about his big sister.
Pamela added: ‘Paige would have loved Kailo.
‘She was such a caring girl and would have loved being a big sister and watching her siblings grow up, but we were all robbed of that by Leathem.
‘We’ll make sure he grows up knowing just how special his big sister was.’
Monica Lennon, Labour MSP for Central Scotland, said the behaviour of cruel internet trolls can no longer go unchallenged.
She said: ‘As society’s use of internet and digital technology increases unfortunately so too does abusive behaviour online – and this abuse must be stopped.
‘There are too many online trolls causing misery and grief, and I am beyond appalled that the mother of Paige Doherty has been victimised in this way.
‘Those responsible are pathetic cowards and should be ashamed of themselves.
‘This type of behaviour can have a serious impact on the intended victim’s mental health, and it must not go unchallenged.’
Russell Findlay MSP, Scottish Conservatives shadow community safety minister, said: ‘Having lost their beloved daughter to murder, the family of Paige Doherty have been subjected to vile and relentless online abuse.
‘No family should have to suffer such poison and I would urge Police Scotland to do whatever it can to identify those responsible and bring them to justice which would surely deter others.
‘These trolls are inadequate cowards who can easily hide their identities which is why the UK Government’s Online Safety Bill is so important as it will force social media companies to stop anonymous users from spreading hate..’
A spokesperson from Police Scotland added: ‘If you become aware of anyone acting illegally or behaving in a threatening way online report it to police..’