A sacked teenager who bombarded his former bosses with 5million hoax emails was yesterday convicted in a British legal first.
David Lennon caused chaos by firing out messages which warned recipients: 'You will die in seven days.'
He made the emails look like they came from his ex-colleagues – or from Microsoft head Bill Gates – and cost his former employer £30,000.
Lennon has become the first person to admit a 'denial of service' offence under the 1990 Computer Misuse Act.
He was just 16 at the time of the attacks, which came after he was fired from his part-time job with insurance firm Domestic and General Group.
Lennon used an e-mail 'bombing' programme called Avalanche, which sent message after message until servers crashed at the firm's offices in Britain, Germany, Spain and France.
The emails all quoted the death warning from horror film The Ring.
Four months later, Lennon was arrested after police traced the e-mails to his home in Bedworth, Warwickshire.
However, it took three years to bring the case to a conclusion. Last November, a judge ruled there was no case to answer, saying the company's systems were fair game because they were set up to receive emails.
In May, prosecutors successfully appealed.
Yesterday, Lennon was given an electronic tag and a two-month curfew at Wimbledon Youth Court – he could have been jailed for up to five years.
DCI Charlie McMurdie, head of the Met Police's computer crime unit, said: 'What made this worse was the nasty contents of the email, not just causing a nuisance, but potentially frightening people, too.'
She predicted the legal breakthrough meant more email abusers would now face justice.
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