Vile troll admits tormenting family of hit-and-run victim Dylan Price over teen's death

A vile internet troll tormented the grieving family of a teenager killed in a hit and run - giving them false hope that his killer may be on the verge of being caught.

David Brown tormented the family of Dylan Price
David Brown tormented the family of Dylan Price

David Brown, aged 59, sent "distressing" messages to Dylan Price's mother and stepfather, first claiming he was responsible for the young man's death, before later saying it was another man he knew.

Dylan, a keen rugby player with Shrewsbury Colts, was killed the day before his 18th birthday when he was hit by a vehicle while walking along the B4385 Brampton Road in Bishop’s Castle, during the early hours of September 19. Police are still hunting for his killer.

Telford Magistrates Court heard how Brown, whose claims were completely fabricated, got in touch with the family because he was "p***ed off" at seeing "Dylan, Dylan, Dylan all over Facebook" in the aftermath of his death.

Brown, who had not told his own family what he had done before he appeared in court, first messaged Steve Bristow, Dylan's stepfather, under the pseudonym "John Thomas".

He first wrote to Mr Bristow on July 10 this year, claiming that he was in hospital, but believed he was responsible for Dylan's death.

Mr Bristow messaged back saying "thank you for coming forward and being honest, and owning up if it was you," and urged him to contact police.

However Brown continued a back and forth, making false claims over a fight in a pub, before suggesting somebody else was driving, and they had moved Dylan's body from the side of the road.

Later that week, Dylan's terminally ill mother, Louise Bristow, got in touch with Brown's "John Thomas" Facebook account, pleading for him to tell her who he was.

She told him: "I've had bad news from my consultant," and that he would "feel so much better" if he told her who he was.

Dylan Price died the day before his 18th birthday

But a message exchange ensued in which Brown made distressing claims about Dylan's body being moved and referred to information in a coroner's report.

Mrs Bristow wrote: "I know this must be stressful for you, but I'm trying to put the pieces together."

Sara Beddows, prosecuting, said: "The messages were clearly false, but gave them false hope," and further upset was caused by fabricated suggestions the driver may have driven over Dylan's body deliberately.

The messages were traced back to Brown.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Bristow said the family have had a "horrendous couple of years", and didn't understand "how someone could play with our emotions like that".

"The effect this has had on my family has been devastating," she added. "We're all a mess and this has added to it. It's just heartbreaking."

Brown, of Oak Meadow, Bishops Castle, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending false information, contrary to the Malicious Communications Act 1988. He has previous convictions for false representation.

Stephen Scully, mitigating, said Brown, who is a carer for his wife and two of his children, had a history of mental problems and at the time was "self-medicating with a mixture of alcohol and speed".

He added that Brown had been "too embarrassed" to tell his family what he had done and was "extremely remorseful".

Magistrates deemed the offences too serious for them to sentence Brown, so adjourned the case to be heard at crown court at a later date.

Brown was released on conditional bail until his sentencing.

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