Brit locked up for telling Nelson Mandela joke

Neil Phillips, right
Neil Phillips, right

Neil Phillips was taken to a police station after posting jokes about Nelson Mandela’s death.

“There was no hatred. What happened to freedom of speech?”

Neil Phillips said he was fingerprinted, DNA-swabbed and had his computers seized.

The 44-year-old was held after posting: “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.”

Another read: “Free Mandela – switch the power off.”

But police swooped after a councillor complained over the gags about the former South African leader, who passed away on Thursday, aged 95.

Mr Phillips who insisted he meant no harm, said: “It was an awful experience. I was fingerprinted, they took DNA and my computer.

“It was a couple of jokes, Bernard Manning type,” he added. “There was no hatred. What happened to freedom of speech? I think they over-reacted massively.”

Mr Phillips, who runs Crumbs sandwich shop in Rugeley, Staffordshire, was arrested after complaints by Cllr Tim Jones about the one-liners, aired when the anti-apartheid hero was critically ill.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police confirmed the arrest and added: “When he answered bail on September 30, he was informed that there would be no further action based on CPS decision of there being insufficient evidence to support a prosecution.”

Yesterday, millions flocked to churches, parks and hills to pay their respects to Mr Mandela, including ex-wife Winnie. – dailystar.co.uk