A man who sent abusive Twitter messages to Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has been jailed for targeting another woman.

John Nimmo, 25, of South Shields, was jailed for eight weeks yesterday after pleading guilty to improper use of a communications network.

The charge relates to messages sent via Twitter to feminist journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, who was campaigning for a woman to appear on UK banknotes when the messages were sent.

Nimmo had also targeted Ms Creasy, who supported the campaign, but charges were not brought in relation to those messages after the Crown Prosecution Service said it would not be in the public interest.

Isabella Sorley, 23, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, also admitted sending abusive messages to Ms Criado-Perez and was jailed for 12 weeks.

Nimmo, described by his lawyer as a “somewhat sad individual” and a “social recluse”, and Sorley, a graduate with 25 previous convictions, mostly for being drunk and disorderly, sent abusive messages to Ms Criado-Perez in July.

It was reported that Nimmo, a former call centre worker, told a BBC Newsnight producer “the police will do nothing, it’s only Twitter”.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that he had spoken of rape before telling Ms Criado-Perez “I will find you (smiley face)”.

One of Sorley’s messages to her read “Die you worthless piece of crap”.

Ms Creasy subsequently had a panic button installed at her home.

Both defendants will serve half their sentences in custody, according to the judge, who also ordered them to pay £800 each in compensation.