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St Andrew's bully suspended after series of online 'acid attack' threats

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A student has been suspended for a year and another six disciplined at St Andrews University after threatening peers online claiming they would ‘ruin their lives’.

The bullies, all studying at the prestigious St Andrews University - where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met - are said to have made ‘indirect’ threats to female students through a Facebook group chat last academic year.  

The messages, which did not directly involve the victims, saw one student suggest throwing battery acid in the women’s faces in what he described as ‘Indian rejected marriage style’ while others talked about potential ‘murder’ and ‘elaborate revenge’, according to screenshots seen in Scotland on Sunday.

Other suggestions on the group conversation were putting hair removal cream in shampoo after gaining access to their flat with a key one of the perpetrators still held after sharing accommodation with them previously and ‘crumbling weight gain bars’ into their food in an attempt to make them unknowingly put on weight.

The women described to the student newspaper The Saint how they felt ‘scared and violated’ and were too scared to leave their homes alone after becoming aware of the threats.

The threats were initially reported to Police Scotland for investigation but the incident was ultimately left with the university to deal with.

The suspended student will be banned from attending classes for a year and will return in September 2018. The others have been forced into writing letters of apology to their victims and are attending a mandatory anti-bullying course run by the university.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: ‘Police in St Andrews received a complaint of threats being made indirectly via a private online chat room to two female students in March 2017.

‘Inquiries were carried out and no crime was found to have been committed – however the matter was referred to the university for consideration of any action it may find it appropriate to take.’

A spokesman for the University of St Andrews said: ‘We cannot comment on individual cases, but all students are fully aware of the standards of behaviour expected of them.The university has a zero tolerance policy on bullying in any shape or form and has rigorous procedures in place to deal with any complaints.

‘Any cases of reported abuse are followed up and a small number of students have been disciplined at the highest levels for such matters in the last five years.’

It is understood that both complainants were offered temporary accommodation by the university as they stated they did not feel safe in their current residency, but declined the offer.

Images courtesy of Matthew Leonard and Rob Bishop.




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