Dorset police said the teenager was arrested at a guest house in the Weymouth area on Tuesday morning after a series of malicious messages were sent to Daley yesterday.

Daley, 18, and his partner Pete Waterfield missed out on a medal yesterday when they finished fourth in the men’s synchronised 10m platform diving event.

After he took to Twitter to apologise to his 500,000-plus followers for failing to pick up a medal, one user sent a series of abusive tweets to the diving star, including references to his late father and alleged death threats.

‘A 17-year-old man was arrested by Dorset police officers in the early hours this morning at a guesthouse in the Weymouth area on suspicion of malicious communications,’ Dorset police said.

‘He is currently helping police with their inquiries.’

Duncan Goodhew, gold and bronze medal-winning swimmer at the Moscow 1980 Olympics, said some of the abuse meted out to sports stars online was ‘appalling’.

‘I suppose that social media in one sense is fantastic, but turned the wrong way round it is very, very personal and it destroys people’s lives,’ he said.

‘So I think people should be much more careful about what they say.’