A 30-year-old Stroud man cried as he was sentenced to 22 months in jail for posting naked photographs of two women on social media.
Jake Ede of Bath Road, Rodborough, got hold of risque and explicit photos that the women had intended only their partners to see and put them on Snapchat and Instagram, Gloucester Crown Court was told on Friday (April 16).
Ede began sobbing loudly in the dock when the judge told him he would have to go straight to jail.
The judge, Recorder Kate Brunner QC, told Ede: “What you did repeatedly was the worst possible use of social media. You hid behind anonymity to torment people who had trusted you.
“You used social media to get into the women’s lives in a way which was terrifying for them.
“They were terrified by not knowing who was trying to get at them. They felt degraded because of the sexual images that were shared on the internet. They felt threatened by your actions, which had an ongoing effect on their personal relationships.”
The court was told that the first victim met Ede ten years ago and they had a brief relationship.
In 2016, the woman began a relationship with a new partner, who received a notification that an attempt had been made to hack his email account, the court heard.
Around three years later, the woman received a message from an Instagram account stating “I have a deal for you” which contained doctored images of the woman that had been acquired from her partner’s email account, the court was told.
The prosecutor said Ede then created several Instagram accounts and a Snapchat account, the profile pictures of which displayed doctored risqué photos of the woman, and continued to send the woman messages such as “do you want a deal or am I just going to go ahead?”
The second victim was a woman who knew Ede when they were children. In 2019 she noticed somebody had gained access her to email account, heard the court.
The prosecutor said Ede then sent her “odd” messages on Facebook and Instagram which included an image of the woman wearing underwear which she had only sent to her partner.
The court was told that after numerous communications from Ede, she contacted the police, who traced the IP address back to Ede’s home in Stroud where he was arrested, the court heard.
“The images were intended for my partner only and I have to battle with the thought that people could have seen me naked somewhere on the internet,” the second victim stated.
“Social media can be a monster and Ede used this to his advantage by hiding behind a veil of fake profiles.”
James McKenna, defending, said: “This period in Ede’s life was a period of utter madness and totally out of character. His appalling actions have culminated in harm to both victims.
“I found it very difficult to take instructions from Ede as he is a broken man who has also broken the lives of two women by his behaviour.”
Asking the judge for a suspended sentence, he said Ede had sought professional assistance, has shown genuine remorse and there was prospect for rehabilitation.
Ede pleaded guilty to stalking the two women between April 20 and July 29, 2019 for the first victim and between April 11, 2018 and July 29, 2019 for the second victim.
The charges stated that Ede’s conduct caused the women serious alarm or distress which had an adverse effect on their day to day activities in that he sent requests and messages via social media using disguised identities which suggested a personal connection to the women and displayed intimate photographs of them and sent messages which were threatening in nature.
The Recorder also imposed a five year restraining order on Ede banning him from contact with both women by any means and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge.