Matthew Wood, 20, from Lancashire, has admitted posting an unpleasant message about missing five-year-old April Jones. Although the contents of the Facebook post is not known, apparently Madeleine McCann was also mentioned.

Wood sparked fury and a vigilante gang of 50 people turned up at his house. He was arrested at a separate address to ensure his safety.

According to Wood, he was drunk at a friend’s house when he decided to post the “joke” about Jones in an attempt to make people think his account had been hacked.

The prosecutor at Chorley Magistrates’ Court said: “When interviewed by police he fully admitted he posted messages about the two missing children.

“He said he did it in a bid to make people think his account had been hacked. He said it got out of hand,” she said.

Wood’s solicitor said: “He did seem genuinely remorseful and regretful for what he had done. At the time he posted these comments not once did he think he would find himself where he is today.”

Mark Bridger, 46, appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates today, charged with April Jones’s murder.

The hunt for April’s body continues.