Animal lover is bullied online after winning an award
A Belfast woman has spoken of how she has been tormented by online bullies after winning an award for her animal charity work.
Helen Madden struggled for decades to overcome years of violent and mentally abusive childhood bullying.
But it was all brought back at the weekend after the 53-year-old held a vigil for abused animals.
Instead of celebrating her achievement, Helen spent the evening in tears after a barrage of personal slurs online.
"I realised that there were grown women bitching about me because I had received an award for my work with animals and they did not like it," Helen said.
"My first reaction was to close down all of my community pages which I have set up over the years to help find lost pets in Belfast.
"Then I thought, 'No, I'm not letting them destroy me again', as I now know keeping quiet about it is not the answer."
Helen has enlisted the support of DUP MLA Emma Pengelly, to try and set up a register of missing pets in the south and east Belfast areas, where 38 cats and two dogs have disappeared since the start of January. She also says that she will be reporting the incident to the PSNI.
The animal lover, set up a Facebook page for missing pets which quickly had dozens of members. She helped organise a rally at Belfast City Hall last year which was attended by around 150 people to draw attention to puppy farming.
She was honoured last year for her work on behalf of neglected animals when she was presented with an award from the Animal Rights Action Network.