Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Jailed for Internet Harassment

(U.K.) A man who used social networking sites to mount a year-long harassment campaign against his girlfriend has been sentenced to four months in jail. Shane Webber, 23, from Nottingham, posted sexually explicit images of his then girlfriend Ruth Jeffery, 22, to her family and friends.

District Judge Anthony Callaway said the offence was a "gross violation of Miss Jeffery's privacy". Outside Southampton Magistrates' Court, Ms Jeffery said the sentence "will never make up for the hurt he has put me through".

The criminal campaign began in April 2010 when Miss Jeffery aborted their child and he became angry. He posted 10 to 12 images of a nude or sexual nature of his girlfriend and also of himself with her on to sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr and Google Picasa, the court heard.

One set of pictures was called 'Nude Jeffery' and was sent to many close friends and family of the computing science student at Loughborough university.

Webber tried to implicate one of his friends, Lee Evans, by putting the posts in an email address bearing Mr Evans's name, leading to his arrest. Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Michael Connelly said Webber had even called police to check on how the investigation to find the stalker was going. On one occasion he shouted at DC Connelly that it "needed a proper officer" looking into it. He was only found out when Miss Jeffery's family made their own inquiries and the emails were traced back to him.

In a victim impact statement which was read out, Miss Jeffery said: "I have been absolutely devastated by the fact the person I shared everything with caused me so much hurt and harm."

The court was told the harassment has caused her to be depressed and lacking in confidence and had forced her not to trust anyone. She said she had been "intentionally controlled, belittled and harmed" by Webber, and that Webber's behaviour was "cruel and calculated".

Miss Jeffery's family were very suspicious that Webber was behind the harassment, causing friction in the family as she defended him. Eventually her father, Gordon, made his own investigation and traced the postings to a site registered to Webber and he was arrested and interviewed by police.

The defence told the court that Webber had Asperger's syndrome and he and his family had suffered from abuse including his parents' house having the words "sicko" and "psycho" daubed on it.

"He has been having a nasty time since this hit the tabloid press," his legal team said. "He seems to have realised he has received a dose of his own medicine. He realises, for the first time, the devastating impact this has had on Ruth and her family."

As well as the jail term, Webber was handed a five-year restraining order and was told not to contact Miss Jeffery or post images of her online. Outside court, Miss Jeffery said: "I am extremely pleased with the outcome. "The maximum sentence in a magistrates' court will never make up for the hurt he had put me through but I am pleased I can now put it behind me. I was absolutely devastated when I found out it was him. I could not believe it was Shane. I did not want to believe it."

Webber admitted one count of harassment at an earlier hearing.

original article found here

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