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Leigh Sales troll who threatened to follow the ABC 7.30 host was once charged with murder   

One of two ‘random’ men who have been hit with restraining orders to protect ABC journalist Leigh Sales was once charged with murdering a homeless person. 

The other also has a separate order in place preventing him approaching the 7.30 host’s close friend and fellow ABC presenter Annabel Crabb.

Sales used a magazine interview last weekend to describe the extent of online trolling she experienced in her role fronting the national broadcaster’s nightly current affairs program.

She also said the vitriol directed at her took ‘a really hard toll on people close to me because I think they feel like they can’t protect me from it.’  

One of two ‘random’ men who have restraining orders against them to protect ABC journalist Leigh Sales was once charged with murdering a homeless person. Sales, who will leave her role hosting 7.30 at the end of the month, will remain with the national broadcaster

Police have in the past eight months taken out apprehended violence orders against two men to protect Sales (left). One of those men was also considered a threat to her friend and fellow ABC presenter Annabel Crabb (right)

Police have in the past eight months taken out apprehended violence orders against two men to protect Sales (left). One of those men was also considered a threat to her friend and fellow ABC presenter Annabel Crabb (right)

Sales, who announced in early February she would be leaving 7.30 after the federal election, said on Saturday she tried to ignore constant abuse on social media. 

‘The problem is, this kind of online ripping up of people can translate into real-life violence,’ she told Stellar. ‘I have two protective violence orders on me from random people who’ve made threats against me.

‘There have been others where police have looked at them and recommended certain courses of action.’

Daily Mail Australia can reveal details of the two men police recently took to court to seek apprehended violence orders protecting Sales and Crabb, who are both 49.

One of the men, who had a murder charge against him withdrawn three years ago, sent an email to the ABC in which he threatened to follow Sales. 

I have two protective violence orders on me from random people who’ve made threats against me

‘Thank you for making it easy to follow you… ‘ he wrote, according to a statement of facts tendered to court. 

The man sent other emails attacking Sales, 7.30 and the ABC in an increasingly strange series of feedback messages to the national broadcaster’s website.

‘You have cemented the reason why you should be abolished… your whole office and show. 7.30 should be an unbiased public centric current affairs program,’ he wrote.  

‘However, it is obvious that it is politically driven. You have gorged yourself enough on public money. For you, this is just an opinion and I welcome that.’ 

Sales said the online vitriol directed at her took 'a really hard toll on people close to me because I think they feel like they can't protect me from it.' She has often spoken out about the abuse prominent women endure. Sales is pictured at the Logies on Sunday night

Sales said the online vitriol directed at her took ‘a really hard toll on people close to me because I think they feel like they can’t protect me from it.’ She has often spoken out about the abuse prominent women endure. Sales is pictured at the Logies on Sunday night

A man who had a murder charge against him withdrawn three years ago sent an email to the ABC in which he threatened to follow Sales

The emails a ‘random’ sent about Leigh Sales

June 10, 2021, 7.51pm: ‘You have cemented the reason why you should be abolished… your whole office and show. 7.30 should be an unbiased public centric current affairs program. However, it is obvious that it is politically driven. You have gorged yourself enough on public money. For you, this is just an opinion and I welcome that.’

October 12, 2021, 7.39pm: ‘You gladly promote the use of Solar panels but what about what happens to the panels when they have lived out their use? Solar panels buried in our one sites. Let me make this clear… You are an extension of ABC policy and are a Credit Risk due to your conduct. Over time, your conduct has an obvious buyest and is a high risk to Australia’s sovereign existence. Let Australia ask for Leigh Sales when they can’t pay their mortgages because of her and her colleagues. But I rely on your hubris… it will gladly serve me. Thank you Leigh and the ABC.’

October 12, 2021, 8.12pm: ‘I’m glad that you all take my email with sustain.. and irrelevant. Thank you for making my job easy.’

October 12, 2021, 8.44pm: ‘Thank you for making it easy to follow you… Thanks again :-)’

Police have in the past eight months taken out apprehended violence orders against two men to protect Sales. One of those men was also considered a threat to Crabb.

Early this year a 52-year-old unemployed man who lives in public housing in Sydney’s south pleaded guilty in Downing Centre Local Court to using a carriage service to menace/harass/offend Sales.

On October 12 last year, during an episode of 7.30, he emailed the ABC with a bizarre rant about solar panels in which he described Sales as ‘an extension of ABC policy’.  

‘Over time, your conduct has an obvious buyest (bias) and is a high risk to Australia’s sovereign existence,’ he wrote. 

‘Let Australia ask for Leigh Sales when they can’t pay their mortgages because of her and her colleagues. But I rely on your hubris… it will gladly serve me. Thank you Leigh and the ABC.’

Later that night, when 7.30 had finished, he wrote: ‘I’m glad that you all take my email with sustain.. and irrelevant. Thank you for making my job easy.’ 

The last email the man sent that evening had a more threatening tone. 

‘Thank you for making it easy to follow you… ‘ he wrote. ‘Thanks again. :-)’

The next day, 7.30 producer Clay Hichens told Sales about the email referring to her potentially being followed.

‘Upon hearing the accused made a threat… the victim immediately felt alarmed, rattled and very fearful of the accused,’ the statement of facts said. ‘The victim was fearful for the physical safety of herself.’

Police were notified of the threat and executed a search warrant on the man’s home where he was arrested on October 19. 

The man lives alone in a one-bedroom NSW Housing flat and is paid $456 a fortnight in government benefits.  

He complied with an order to reveal his passwords so that police could access his electronic devices.  He also confirmed he had previously watched 7.30.    

In January the man, who was not known to Sales, was released on condition he provide a $250 security and be of good behaviour for 12 months.

On the same day at the same court the man was made the subject of a two-year apprehended violence order to protect Sales.

The troll, who unsuccessfully appealed against the conviction in the District Court this month, was charged with murdering a homeless man at Woolloomooloo six years ago.

Police had alleged he pushed a 50-year-old man in April 2016 at Tom Uren Square, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the footpath. The man later died.  

Before the man died, his alleged attacker told a court he was ‘extremely remorseful about his actions’ and was ‘not someone who wants to inflict harm on anyone’.

The court heard the accused man had been in the vicinity of Tom Uren Square for a ‘peculiar’ reason: to ‘ingratiate himself’ with the disadvantaged in his community.

A murder charge was withdrawn in March 2019 and he was found not guilty of manslaughter two months later. There was a further not guilty verdict for an alternative charge of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

In October last year a then 49-year-old man from Sydney’s south-east was listed to appear at Newtown Local Court where police sought separate AVOs to protect Sales and Crabb.

Two-year orders were made preventing the man from going within 2km of where Sales or Crabb live or work, including the ABC head office in Harris Street, Ultimo. 

Comment was sought from Sales through an ABC spokesman. 

Sales, who has presented 7.30 for almost 12 years and will continue to work with the ABC in a different role, told Stellar why she had quit Twitter in April.  

Sales, who announced in early February she would be leaving 7.30 after the federal election, said on Saturday she tried to ignore constant abuse on social media. She is pictured at the 2019 Logies

Sales, who announced in early February she would be leaving 7.30 after the federal election, said on Saturday she tried to ignore constant abuse on social media. She is pictured at the 2019 Logies

‘People have reported that I left because there was an interview with Scott Morrison and then I was abused,’ she said. ‘But I was abused all the time, so actually that had nothing to do with it.’

‘I just decided to jump off before the election because I thought the level of the trolling would ramp right up… Whether you’re on it or not, there’s a rabid group of bullies who just use any excuse to pretty much pile on.’   

In the past Sales has said she was repeatedly the victim of online bullying whenever she interviewed former prime minister Scott Morrison.

After an appearance on 7.30 with Morrison in 2020, Sales shared a sample of the sexualised hate she received including messages she was ‘sitting on his lap’.

Long-time ABC employee Sarah Ferguson will replace Sales as the 7.30 host from July. 

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