A SENIOR member of staff at the University of Leicester has written anonymous blog posts attacking the opposing York campaigners in the fight over Richard III’s reburial.
Mike Simpson, the university’s senior web communications officer, has been revealed as the author of the blog Leicester Loves Richard, which attacks a leading York campaigner.
Vanessa Roe, 16th great-niece of the king, a spokeswoman for the Plantagenet Alliance, has been branded a “looney-tune”, “stark staring bonkers” and “absolutely bats**t insane” on Mr Simpson’s blog.
The site states its aims as “correcting the misinformation about Richard III”. It is published anonymously by an author claiming to be part of the team which found and identified the king’s body. In a posting from September 23, Ms Roe is attacked for a website she runs called Ghost Sightings of Richard III.
Ms Roe has spoken out against what she calls the “nasty” and “vitriolic” comments.
“I am angry because this is a personal attack. It’s gone over the line, and he is a public servant working in the university.”
Even though the blog is written in a personal capacity, Ms Roe says she believes it reflects badly on Mr Simpson’s employers and will damage the Leicester campaign.
“It’s very childish and cowardly. You don’t expect somebody in a high position to behave like that. Dirty tricks are not the way to win a war,” Ms Roe said.
“I would like the university to know who they are employing and I would like Mr Simpson to make a public apology.”
Although Mr Simpson has admitted writing the post, he said the blog is written in his own time and has no connection to his work. He said Ms Roe had made no attempt to contact him about any inaccuracies.
In a written statement, the University of Leicester said they did not support the views expressed but would not take action over their employees’ activities outside work.
The statement said: “The University – or anyone else for that matter – has no control over freedom of expression within the law by individuals in their personal capacity. This also applies to any websites – pro-York or pro- Leicester – as well as comments posted on newspaper websites.
“If the individual is an employee, as claimed, the University can only intervene if the individual is engaged on working on the site during working hours or using work resources.”