A WOMAN was subjected to a torrent of abuse by internet trolls after setting up a petition calling for Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson to be sacked.

Nicole Healing, from Brighton, gained more than 56,000 supporters for her petition urging the BBC to axe the controversial presenter.

She was inspired after her terminally ill friend Jo Knell pointed out how the public seemed more interested in reinstating Mr Clarkson then campaigning for cancer drugs.

But Ms Healing was subjected to death threats, sexism, homophobia and insults about her hairstyle after raising the issue.

One Facebook user messaged her: “Have you tried suicide? It’d suit you.”

Mr Clarkson was suspended by the BBC earlier this month after allegedly throwing a punch at his producer after being told there was no hot food available for him after a day of filming.

An internal BBC investigation is expected to lead the corporation to dismiss Mr Clarkson.

Ms Healing said: “I’m not really surprised at the level of abuse. I think there is a certain demographic that is a supporter of him.

“But it’s not a nice thing to be subject to that pack mentality of people abusing me and telling other people where they can find me.

“Fortunately I’m not a person who gets upset by something like that.”

The 34-year-old, who works in digital marketing and social media, read Ms Knell’s blog about her battle with liver and breast cancer.

Ms Knell raised the issue that more than one million had signed the petition calling for Mr Clarkson’s reinstatement, while few were interested in a petition over cuts to drugs treatment funding.

Ms Healing said: “What I do find distressing is the priorities of this country.

“I set up the petition after I read a blog by my friend who has terminal cancer. She was pointing out the fact that people seem a lot more worried about Clarkson then cuts to cancer drugs. I don’t want to be painted as a victim. I want to raise awareness about more important issues.”

The abusive comments have been reported to Facebook but no action has been taken.

Ms Healing added: “I reported every single one of the comments and not of them has not been removed. Ironically, Facebook released new community standards last week.

“The company says it will do X and Y and then, in reality, they do nothing.”

To read the blog, visit tinyurl.com/q4bg55j or to sign the petition, visit tinyurl.com/m77jhsz.