A LONG distance trucker from Liverpool who hated the job has been jailed for seven years after he set fire to 14 of his employer The Stobart Group’s lorries over a two and a half year period. Chester Crown Court heard how Ronald Day, from Liverpool, carried out his arson spree in various parts of the country, as his actions sparked panic among other drivers who refused to sleep in their cabs at night because they feared there may be a fault which caused spontaneous combustion. The 53-year-old, originally from Liverpool but of no fixed abode, yesterday admitted 14 charges of arson and was jailed for seven years. His employers, The Stobart Group, lost more than 1m half a million in the cost of the damage, 300,000 in getting replacement vehicles to keep the business going, and the cost of a detailed probe into what was going wrong. Martin McRobb, prosecuting, said that in September of last year Stobart investigators established that Day was the only one of its 2,000 employees who was present each time there was a fire. They kept watch as Day went into the cab of a tractor unit in Chelmford, Stockport, with a cigarette and he was arrested. It turned out that between January 2009 and September last year he had been responsible for setting fire to 14 lorries at the Proctor and Gamble depot in Trafford Park, Manchester; Appleton in Warrington, Crick in Northampton, Sherburn in Leeds, Chelford in Stockport and Aveley in Essex. In two of the fires, they had been deliberately re-ignited after firefighters extinguished them. Mark LeBroq, defending, said that Day, who in 1995 was placed on probation in Manchester Crown Court for three arson attacks on the lorries owned by a previous employer, did not hold out any malice towards his employer. On the contrary, he said they had treated him very well. But he grew to hate the job, driving up to eight hours a day and then sleeping in the cab, a lonely life called “tramping” by those who did it. He was in debt and felt that he was working all hours God sent and it was getting him nowhere. He said Day could see no way out and acted when he was depressed and in a “distorted frame of mind”. The court heard since the proceedings started he had renewed hope after two daughters and four grandchildren who he did not know existed had come forward and contacted him. The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said that Day, who admitted 14 charges of arson, had simply done it “again and again and again.” Today’s most read Echo stories: Ex-Brookside star Brian Regan cleared of Bahman Faraji murder plot (VIDEO)  David Corridon murder: Four people arrested by Merseyside Police  Teenage model Nicola Graham fears career may be over after Koco nightclub attack  EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool ECHO investigation into Rebecca Coriam cruise disappearance reveals mystery love triangle  References ^ Ex-Brookside star Brian Regan cleared of Bahman Faraji murder plot (VIDEO) (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk) ^ David Corridon murder: Four people arrested by Merseyside Police (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk) ^ Teenage model Nicola Graham fears career may be over after Koco nightclub attack (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk) ^ EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool ECHO investigation into Rebecca Coriam cruise disappearance reveals mystery love triangle (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
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TRANSSEXUAL trucker Vikki-Marie Gaynor from Merseyside will star in a one-off Channel 4 documentary MotherTruckers following the lives of women lorry drivers. Vikki-Marie Gaynor, 41, will feature alongside a line-up of female truckers trying to make their way in a male-dominated industry. The Channel 4 show, MotherTruckers, which airs on Thursday, chronicles Vikki- Marie s struggle to find work and acceptance. Vikki-Marie, who lives in Seacombe, Wirral, told the ECHO: I had such a fantastic time making the programme. The girls were great and it was great to be able to relate to someone who knows the job as well as you do. Driving is something I ve done all my life, so it was great to chat to the girls about it and hear about their experiences the majority of which have been very positive. Vikki-Marie, who began life as Mike, joined the Army and became an LGV and HGV driver, and then proud dad to a baby girl. But five years ago she made the decision to become a woman a decision which ended with her taking her employers to court for sexual discrimination. She won the case and now fits freelance agency trucking around her work as a mobile beautician and masseuse. Vikki-Marie said: It s a bit different for me because I ve had to fight to get on the roads. All the girls have proved they have the bottle to be drivers in a very difficult trade which is dominated by men. I ve played both sides, I ve sat in the room with the blokes when they had quite crude conversations, so it was just so refreshing to be around other women. The conversation is so much nicer and they talk about the beauty of driving like the lovely countryside it s nice to see different perspectives on the same trade. The show follows Vikki- Marie finally starting full time work for a probationary period for a sympathetic employer who delivers skips and she is anxious to make her mark as a perfect employee. Vikki-Marie added: I had so much fun making the show, I definitely think people will love it. Yummy mummy Lyndsey Graham also features in the show with her two-year-old son. Single trucker driver Lyndsey, from Ormskirk, juggles helping to run the family haulage business with caring for baby trucker Dylan, who often travels with his mum on deliveries, complete with his own hi-vis vest. Watch MotherTruckers at 10pm on Thursday.
When you tweet to JK Rowling, you never imagine that she ll actually see it. Despite the ostensible accessibility of celebrities on Twitter, their overcrowded mentions and busy schedules mean they don t read most of the 140-character messages directed towards them. Yet sometimes, of course, they do. And sometimes they retweet these messages for their own followers to see and share. Immediately after she retweeted my original tweet my notifications blew up, says Isobel Sweeney, an 18-year-old English literature student from Merseyside who tweeted at Rowling  to Fuck off after the author shared her opinions on Jeremy Corbyn yesterday. I think I got somewhere in the region of about fifty replies, most were just fans of Rowling who were offended that I’d disagreed with her. A quick glance through the other tweets JK Rowling retweeted yesterday shows that their authors also received online hate. One was called a foul, loathsome evil little cockroach , another labelled a commie twat and an embarrassment . When Rowling shared a tweet  saying Corbyn was like Dumbledore, the tweeter deleted their message and set their account to private. Rowling has 8.07 million Twitter followers. The tweeter in question has 78. It must be exhausting to be JK Rowling on Twitter and receive vitriol and threats merely for having an opinion. But when Rowling retweets people who send her hate, or worse, people who just disagree with her, she opens them up to an army of fans ready to dish out vitriol in return. The author herself is aware of this, as yesterday she blocked out the name and picture of a person who sent her a positive tweet before sharing it, writing: I feel I have to remove this person’s avi because I know the hate she’ll get. Think that through for a moment. I feel I have to remove this person’s avi because I know the hate she’ll get. Think that through for a moment. pic.twitter.com/WOACwm0Hm9  J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 31, 2016  Rowling also blocked out Sweeney s name when she shared a second tweet  from her account, so she is again presumably aware of the impact she can and did have. Yet yesterday and today she has continued to share people s tweets with their names clearly visible. But so what, right? If you tweet at JK Rowling, especially hatefully, don t you open yourself up to this, 78 followers or not? If you’re scared the door might open, try not hurling abuse through the letterbox. https://t.co/3Z4n0LvJrN  J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 1, 2016  Perhaps, but not all celebrities just call out people who @ them. Some actually search for their own names and retweet or quote tweet (that is, share the tweet and add their own message to it) people who have criticised them. Emily Reynolds, a 24-year-old freelance writer and author, has experienced this twice. In 2014, Reynolds tweeted criticism of Ricky Gervais  for his stance on the iCloud hack of celebrity nudes. Although she didn t directly tag Gervais in the tweet by @ing him, the comedian shared her tweet after it gained traction. Because of his retweet, Reynolds began to receive hateful messages and death threats from his fans. It was genuinely awful, she says. Someone sent me a Facebook message with my address and the manner they were going to kill me with in it. I had to call the police, who eventually failed to investigate it, even though I had his name and workplace, because it had happened online . The whole experience was awful. Recently, it happened again. Last month, Reynolds shared her opinion of Gervais latest movie  and although she didn t @ the star, or even mention him by name, he retweeted her message to his 11.4 million followers. Fortunately, after she tweeted him to say she had previously received death threats, Gervais quickly undid the retweet, although he didn t apologise. there is a song on the david brent album called ‘please don’t make fun of the disableds’ and i strongly recommend you do not listen to it Emily Reynolds (@rey_z) August 22, 2016  I figured he was too busy to name search so I didn t think he d see it, says Reynolds. Also, he didn t even search Ricky Gervais , my tweet mentioned David Brent , who is literally his fictional character. What I said wasn’t abusive or cruel, I didn’t directly share my tweet with him, I just said that I didn’t like a song he’d written. If you work in a creative industry I think you should probably be more thick-skinned than that. And thick skin is the crux of the issue. Although it is terrible that Gervais and Rowling receive an abundance of hateful tweets, it is something that unfortunately comes with being a celebrity. When they expose average people to their fans, they open them up to a world of fame and hate that they may not be prepared for. Thankfully, Sweeney admits that she wasn t really bothered by the tweets she received, though does believe that Rowling retweets people simply so that her army of Twitter followers will come after them and give them hate . That seems like unlikely behaviour from a woman who fell off the Forbes billionaires list due to the sheer amount of her charitable donations, but it does leave you wondering what celebrities hope to achieve by exposing hateful tweeters. You could argue they simply want the right to argue back, but quote-tweeting someone s message is an active decision to showcase what they said to your followers, as if you merely send a direct reply it doesn t show up on your followers timelines. Perhaps celebrities quote-tweet and retweet to reveal the truth about celebrity life. Due to her own large number of followers, Reynolds herself feels it would be irresponsible to retweet criticism, but she does have her own rules. I feel like it’s different if someone @s you directly, and I feel like it’s different when I receive actively misogynistic hate speech or threats, because I think it’s important that those accounts are deleted and people are aware of how it is to be a woman day to day online. Despite the reasoning behind the retweets, however, it doesn t seem unfair to argue that celebrities should be more careful, especially when they don t know who the tweeter they re exposing really is. In 2015, an 11-year-old girl had her picture shared online and received hundreds of hateful tweets  after YouTuber Gabriella Lindley called her out for posting Moo under her Instagram pictures. According to the girl s sister, the incident left her hysterical . Ultimately, both Reynolds and Sweeney do believe celebrities should be more responsible. You can’t be responsible for what other people say on Twitter, and obviously I don’t think Ricky Gervais actually condones the kind of vile and abusive language towards women some of his fans deployed, says Reynolds. But you absolutely have to be aware of the power you have when you use particular platforms and be really careful how you wield that power. References ^ tweeted at Rowling (twitter.com) ^ Rowling shared a tweet (twitter.com) ^ pic.twitter.com/WOACwm0Hm9 (t.co) ^ August 31, 2016 (twitter.com) ^ shared a second tweet (twitter.com) ^ https://t.co/3Z4n0LvJrN (t.co) ^ September 1, 2016 (twitter.com) ^ tweeted criticism of Ricky Gervais (twitter.com) ^ shared her opinion of Gervais latest movie (twitter.com) ^ August 22, 2016 (twitter.com) ^ received hundreds of hateful tweets (superfame.com)