Man jailed after posting photos on porn sites in online harassment campaign - The Leamington Observer

Man jailed after posting photos on porn sites in online harassment campaign

Leamington Editorial 9th Mar, 2018 Updated: 9th Mar, 2018   0

A KENILWORTH man’s online harassment of a young American woman got so bad that she flew to this country with her mother to make a complaint to the police about his behaviour.

And as a result, her tormentor Lewis Birch, who continued making threats once he knew she was here, appeared at Warwick Crown Court where he was jailed for a total of 15 months.

The 35-year-old, of Warwick Road, had pleaded guilty to charges of harassment, disclosing private photographs, fraud and sending threatening communications.

Prosecutor Graham Russell said Birch and the woman, who is in her 20s and lives in the USA, had got to know each-other in April last year through a Facebook messenger group.




They got on well, and during the summer she came to England to see him, but found his behaviour somewhat controlling.

Nevertheless, on her return to America, they continued their online correspondence – and later in the year he flew to the US to spend some time with her at her home.


But things did not go smoothly, and he confessed he had been secretly reading her journals and she found he had also been corresponding with another woman online.

Birch’s behaviour during his visit was volatile, and on one occasion he had stabbed himself with an EpiPen, and on another he swallowed ten Diazepam tablets.

It led to her breaking off the relationship – but Birch did not take it well.

He had some pictures of her, either taken by her and sent to him or taken by him with her permission – but ‘obviously intended for his eyes only,’ said Mr Russell.

He sent some to her friends, university lecturers and uploaded to online porn websites – then sent her a link to them with the message ‘Merry Christmas.’

Not content with that, he set up false Facebook and Instagram profiles in her name on which to post the same images.

And he began a campaign of ordering food online to be delivered to her address and those of her mother and aunt.

The fraud involved him using her debit card details, to which he had previously had access.

Things had become ‘somewhat unbearable,’ and she contacted her local county police who told her there was nothing they could do as it was outside their jurisdiction.

So in desperation she and her mother flew to London to consult an English solicitor, as a result of which the police were contacted.

Mr Russell said Birch’s victim was now seeking therapy, and also had the expense of flying to Britain and hiring online specialists the photos and get them removed.

David Rees, defending, said Birch had “long-term psychiatric issues”.

Jailing Birch, Judge de Bertodano told him: “This must be an immediate prison sentence. The message very clearly must go out that if people harass former partners in this way, and do so repeatedly, they must go to prison.”

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