(Eastbourne, U.K.) A widow who was looking for love on the internet has hit out at the courts after a man who conned her and broke into her home escaped jail.
Amanda Avery criticised the legal system this week after hearing that Colin Bradish – a man who she says made her life hell – was handed a 50-week suspended sentence for burglary and harassment.
Bradish, 53, of Portslade, was also made subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting Ms Avery. However, according to his 43-year-old victim, he was still signed up to a host of other dating websites – leaving other women potentially at risk of being targeted.
Ms Avery, of East Dean, said the punishment should have been far more severe. Speaking to the Herald about her ordeal, she said, “You rely on the justice system and I feel let down by it. It is as if he has not even been punished for what he did.”
Having wormed his way into her affections, Bradish proceeded to break in, steal a laptop and set about hacking into a host of Ms Avery’s personal accounts.
And, as well as changing her mobile phone tariff and messing with other files, Bradish signed her up for a string of other dating websites and advertised her home address.
Ms Avery was devastated but, as she explained, the internet side of things was far from the most upsetting.
“The worst thing was,” she said, “that he came into my room and took my mobile phone from next to my bed. He would have been yards from where I was sleeping. For ages I had could not sleep because of the thought and used lay awake until it became light.”
Bradish was the first person Ms Avery had met online. In fact, she had only ended up on the dating website by accident after filling in an internet personality test and being told she had to sign up to get the results.
A day later, she was contacted by Bradish and he began spinning his web of lies.
“He photoshopped his picture,” remembered Ms Avery. “He is a good deal uglier in real life.”
“You won’t believe this but he had actually asked me if my photo was a current one because he said people often used one of themselves younger. When I saw him I thought ‘you’ve aged a bit’ but looks have never been the most important thing to me. He seemed nice and could hold an intelligent conversation.”
Ms Avery, who said she always tried to see the good in people but had been left feeling ‘a bit stupid’ after falling for Bradish’s carefully concocted deceit, did not rush into meeting her online date.
The pair exchanged messages and spoke at length on the phone before she decided to take the plunge and meet up. Now, having seen her home broken into and her trust shattered, she understandably wishes she had never met him.
“He was trying to control me,” She said. “He had nothing going on in his life. He had made up a fake job and all the rest of it. This was probably the only way he had of getting control.”
Although she slammed the courts for delivering such a lenient sentence, she reserved special praise for the police.
“You get idiots everywhere,” she said. “The internet is just another place for them."