AN artist is unrepentant after she was jailed for nine weeks for an online comment in the wake of a terrorist attack.

Jacqueline Huckle, 56, of Sladburys Lane, Holland-on-Sea, was jailed after praising the actions of a man alleged to have killed more than 50 Muslims in mosque shootings in New Zealand in March.

On the day of the shooting, she commented on a news article about the tragedy and said online the suspect, who is due to stand trial next year, should be “given a medal”.

She was given an immediate jail term at Colchester Magistrates’ Court for sending by public communication network an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message.

Speaking to the Gazette after her release, Mrs Huckle was unrepentant and said she was “standing up for our country”.

“I did get put in custody for one-and-a-half months because I wouldn’t apologise," she said.

“The support I have been shown in prison and since being realised is beyond my expectations.

“The majority who are sane in this country have the same views and no-one in HMP Peterborough, or who I meet, can believe that standing up for and speaking up for your country and future and what is happening to us can put you in jail.

“I don’t know how but I seem to have become a celebrity.”

Residents have both supported and criticised Mrs Huckle in the Gazette’s letters pages with some saying the sentence was an attack on freedom of speech.

Essex Police used the case to highlight its fight against Islamophobia and religious hate crime during National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

A spokesman for the force praised the outstanding work of PC Sam Harris, of Tendring’s Community Policing Team, who was able to track Huckle and bring her to justice for her “vile actions”.

Essex Police said between September last year and August a total of 153 hate crimes were reported as a result of the victim’s religious beliefs.

The highest figures came from the Muslim community, who reported 48 crimes.

Essex Police said it is working closely with Imams to ensure the force raises awareness of hate crime which it said can be under-reported, particularly by women who practise the faith.