Police launched an investigation after a teenager who entered a beauty contest became the victim of jealous internet trolls who branded her “ugly”.
Lizzie Flint, 19, has been transformed from a ”bubbly, outgoing” girl into a “depressed reclusive” since entering Miss Cornwall 2012.
She was picked as one of the 17 finalists but within days was ”bombarded” with sick abuse which was repeatedly posted on her Facebook page.
The “evil” cyber bullies said she “didn’t deserve” to be in the competition and told her to quit or they would “smash her face in”.
She was also called branded “ugly” in the onslaught of more than 100 messages and called a series of viles four-letter names – including a ‘c*nt’.
Lizzie, of Helston, Cornwall, put up with the abuse for months and eventually lost out in the contest to another girl.
She says the bullying left her a depressed recluse who suffers terrifying nightmares about bullies throwing acid in her face.
Eventually she plucked up the courage to tell her horrified mum Mariana, 42, who called the police and three girls received official warnings.
Lizzie says the abuse she suffered left her depressed and has vowed never to enter another beauty pageant or follow her dream of being a model.
She said: “I don’t want to enter any more competitions or have anything to do with modelling any more.
“The cyber bullying has rocked my confidence but I’m determined to speak out so other people don’t have to suffer this sort of abuse.
“All of this bullying started on Facebook when I entered Miss Cornwall.
“I don’t like talking about the messages, they upset me so much. But I kept some of them so the police could use them for evidence.
“I remember one of them said ‘You’re a c*nt, you don’t deserve, to be in the competition’ it was just the word ‘c*nt’ all the time, I hated it.
“I used to get messages daily, horrible things written on pictures like I was ugly and things like that.
“I knew some of the people that were sending me them. Some days were worse than others, I got at least 100 messages in total.”
Mum Mariana watched her daughter’s confidence wear away before tearful Lizzie finally confided in her in June last year.
She said she had misgivings about her daughter entering a beauty contest and is convinced the subsequent abuse was fuelled by jealousy.
Mariana, a party planner who has two other kids and a stepson with BT worker husband Scott, said: “I was against the idea. I knew there would be jealousy from other girls.
“She hid it well from me but I noticed things changed in her, she stopped eating and became depressed.
“She had nightmares that someone was going to throw acid in her face. She was terrified and too scared to walk to school which is just five minutes away.
”I used to have to literally drop her at her classroom door.
“When she told me what was happening I was mortified and in tears. It had got so bad that people were even making fake profiles so they could befriend her.
“Some of the things that were said were pure evil. People would say they were going to smash her face in, threats like that.
“It is frightening to know that this sort of bullying can go on so easily behind a parents back.
“She was a giggly, soft-hearted girl before but now she has lost all trust in her age group.”
The family went to police and three girls were issued with official warnings and one wrote a letter of apology.
Lizzie is now training to work with children wants others to speak out about online trolls to bring an end to cyber bullying.
She said: “My family and friends are very proud that I have spoken out. No one in this world should suffer at the hands of bullies.
“The police were great in my case, they took action straight away and the bullies got a full warning. Now I’m slowly trying to regain all the confidence they took from me.
“I finally can go out with my friends and not have to look over my shoulder all the time.
“I’d like to say to the bullies you tried to knock me down when I was at my lowest, you didn’t, you got caught and now my confidence is back.”
A spokesman for the Miss Cornwall competition said: “Elizabeth entered last year’s competition. I was contacted by her mother about the cyberbullying and we dealt with it.
“I’m sorry for Elizabeth but there’s some things we cant control, cyberbullying being one of them.
“We have a page on Facebook ‘Miss Cornwall’ which is monitored and a few people have made comments on this year’s competitors, which were not very nice, but as soon as they make nasty comments they are banned and their comments are deleted.
“Comments made to Elizabeth were on her profile, which we don’t have control of.”
Two girls were given official police warnings about bullying Lizzie. No formal action was taken against the third girl.
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: “A complaint was made about violent and abusive Facebook and text messages towards the victim.
“Two girls were involved and were warned. One was given a final warning and the other was dealt with by restorative justice, neither went to court but both were given warnings.”