A CONSPIRACY theorist who claimed Lee Rigby's murder was a Government-backed hoax has lost his appeal against a conviction for harassing the soldier's family.

Christopher Spivey, 54, of Rochford Garden Way, Rochford, ran his own website on which he claimed the murder of Fusilier Rigby, who was hacked to death by terrorists in London in May 2013, was "staged".

The former builder, who received a suspended six month jail sentence at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, told a judge at his appeal hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court: "It was a fake event allowed to go ahead by the Government, aided by the security services."

Spivey believed it was done to "whip up racial hatred".

But a judge, dismissing his appeal against conviction, labelled Spivey's internet postings as "malicious and oppressive".

Judge Christopher Morgan added that Spivey "targeted" Lee Rigby's mother and sister, he was aware of the risk they might see what he had written and he took no account of the fact the family were grieving.

Lyn Rigby, the mother of Fusilier Rigby, 25, who was horrifically attacked and killed in a Woolwich street in south London, had to relive events as she gave evidence in Spivey's appeal via video link from the Manchester area.

She was visibly distressed as she spoke of feeling frightened when her address and family photographs were published by Spivey.

She told the court: "We just couldn't go out anywhere. We were frightened to answer the door. It got to the point where my youngest got so frightened she would go around checking on windows and doors three times before she went to bed, over and over again.

"It made us very frightened. I got very distressed over it as I thought we were being watched all the time."

No other media had published her address before Spivey, and she added that when he did the family “feared for our lives”.

In one bizarre rant, Spivey claimed her youngest daughter Amy "didn't actually exist", and Mrs Rigby told the court: "It broke my heart.

"Lee was taken away in such horrific circumstances. I had already lost Lee and now, posting all this...that my daughter didn't exist.... it was like Spivey was taking away another child of mine."

Her daughter Sara McClure, who also gave evidence via video, said she felt "scared and vulnerable" when Spivey published photos and names of her children, of her house, and information that her brother Lee and her partner Robert Sergeant had served together in the same battalion.

She said: "We moved house, we had to leave our home because we were worried somebody was going to come for us.”

Basildon Standard: Drummer Lee Rigby, who was attacked and killed in Woolwich on Wednesday

Two men, Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adeowale, 22, were jailed for life in February 2015 for Fusilier Rigby's murder following a trial at the Old Bailey.

Spivey denied but was convicted after a trial in July 2015 at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court of two charges of harassing Lyn Rigby and Sara McClure with his claims and by revealing details and photos about their addresses and children.

He also denied and was convicted of two offences of sending grossly offensive or menacing messages by public communication between May, 2013 and November, 2014.

Articles on his site, with links to his Facebook page, began the day after Fusilier Rigby was killed. Spivey suggested that Lee Rigby didn't exist and that the family were involved in the conspiracy.

He claimed their grief wasn't genuine and that their fund-raising efforts were a fraud. The judge ruled that was "untrue and malicious".

Spivey claimed that "Lee McClure is played by two or three different people" and identified Sara's partner Robert Sergeant, who served in the same battalion, as one of them.

Spivey had received a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a lifetime restraining order banning him from any future contact with those involved and from publishing any material about them on the internet.

He was also ordered to pay £2,000 costs and his computer equipment was forfeited.

The appeal judge left that sentence in place, but ordered Spivey, unemployed and on benefits, to pay a further £2,000 costs.

At his appeal Spivey claimed he never intended to deliberately harass, or target, the Rigby family by what he wrote. He never sent any of his articles to them, was not aware they had seen any and didn't encourage anyone who read his postings to visit their addresses.

He said he studied mainstream news media reports, the internet, YouTube, Google maps and ancestry sites as sources for his research, analysed what he found and then published his opinions. At one stage his website had 22,000 visits a day.

Some of his articles about Woolwich and the Rigby family were under the headings "The Fake", "The Drummer Man", "Mugged Off, Just Saying, Family, Friends and Neighbours, The Complicated Dynamics of the Rigby Clan", and "Charity Begins at Home, the Rigby Home."

Judge Morgan, sitting with a magistrate, dismissed Spivey's appeal after a four-day hearing.

The judge said Spivey continued to post after his arrest and release on bail in July 2014, including a photo of Lee Rigby's body lying in the street.

He said Spivey had "crossed the line" and he was aware of the risks that his comments would be seen by the family.

He said: "A person grieving for a child and directly involved in events would be affected.

"The assertion that the murder of her son was a hoax to someone not connected with Lee Rigby may have simply been dismissed as the deluded comment of an obsessive, a conspiracy theorist or a crank."

Mrs Rigby and Ms McClure had not embellished their distress to attract sympathy. They were honest and reliable witnesses.

He said: "Both of these ladies were caused alarm and distress by what they read”.