Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Sex tape revenge porn hell at hands of jilted ex-boyfriend

Una Crossen was distraught when she discovered her ex-boyfriend had uploaded intimate footage of her onto a pornography site
Una Crossen was distraught when she discovered her ex-boyfriend had uploaded intimate footage of her onto a pornography site
Undertaking: Paddy Campbell

A Belfast woman has told how she felt violated and betrayed after secretly filmed explicit footage of her was sent to an adult website.

Una Crossen from west Belfast said she was left feeling sick because she fears that a sex tape made by her former boyfriend to which she did not consent could still be found online.

The 22-year-old trainee accountant told the Belfast Telegraph that the past year had been a living nightmare that has resulted in her feeling that she can no longer trust men.

Una had originally reported the matter to the police but was told nothing could be done. She eventually received legal aid to launch court action.

On July 28, software engineer Patrick Brendan Campbell (26), originally from the Oldpark Road area of north Belfast, accepted an undertaking in court that he would not harass Ms Crossen or publish or reproduce any material or videos, particularly of an explicit nature, which would interfere with her right to privacy.

Legal documents obtained by the Belfast Telegraph reveal that she told a court she ended their relationship following an argument with Mr Campbell.

She told the court: "In December 2012 I found out that he had secretly filmed us having sexual intercourse in his room. He had videoed this months before.

Undertaking: Paddy Campbell
Undertaking: Paddy Campbell

"I had found out that he had been unfaithful to me. During the course of an argument he informed me that he had made this video a few months earlier.

"I was shocked by this. I asked to see his laptop. He deleted the video in front of me. I then split up with him."

In a sworn affidavit submitted to a Belfast court Una claimed Mr Campbell had been "controlling" during their relationship, had placed a tracking system on her mobile phone and that she was "fearful" of ending contact with him as she didn't want to "rile him further".

This newspaper has also seen email correspondence sent by Mr Campbell to Una confirming a video of the couple having sex was submitted to an adult website.

She told the court Mr Campbell had repeatedly threatened to upload a video of them online and send the clip to her employer.

Una was prompted to come forward after a 'revenge porn' victim in England spoke publicly about her experience last month.

On July 28 a Belfast court arranged an undertaking Una and Mr Campbell agreed upon, and he was ordered to pay her legal costs.

The court judgment said: "The defendant hereby undertakes not to publish or reproduce any material or videos which would interfere with the plaintiff's right to privacy, particularly any materials in whatever form of an explicit nature."

Una said: "Under oath he admitted to having numerous videos, he couldn't give the exact number.

"I felt sick. I didn't know what to do. I was in shock. It was the first time I heard him admit he had more than one."

She added: "I was surprised the police couldn't arrest him. I didn't expect them to say, 'there is nothing we can do'."

When this newspaper spoke to Mr Campbell last night he declined to comment on the case.

When asked if he had recorded footage of them having sex without her consent, he said: "I'm not saying anything. I am not commenting."

'Revenge porn' legislation faces scrutiny to see why it can't help victims like Una  

'I was devastated, I didn't know what to do. He refused to take it down and said he would send it to my employer'

By Amanda Ferguson

It was the ultimate betrayal. When Una Crossen's now ex-partner told her he had uploaded secretly-filmed footage of them having sex on to an adult website she said she "felt sick".

In an emotional interview with the Belfast Telegraph, the 22-year-old from the west of the city explained she hopes by coming forward with her story it will help other young women who have found themselves in a similar situation.

The trainee accountant first met Mr Campbell in 2009 when she was 17 and in 2011 they began to date.

Una was subsequently horrified to learn footage of their intimate behaviour had made its way onto a pornography site.

"We were arguing and he threw it into the argument that he had recorded us," Una said.

"He kept harassing me, telling me he was sorry, so we got back together for about three weeks.

"Part of it was being young. He was a good manipulator and just sort of wore me down."

Una gave her first serious relationship another chance but ended it for a second time when she found out the man she had loved and trusted still had a copy of a sex video in his possession.

"He sent me an email with the video saying 'I hate you'," she said. "At that point it was finished.

"I never told anybody about it, but maintained contact with him because I wasn't too sure of how stable he was.

"I didn't know what he planned to do with it. I didn't know if there was more."

Una moved to England in August last year to start a new job and cut off contact with Mr Campbell.

She then received a text message saying a clip of them was online.

"I got a confirmation email from the adult website that he forwarded on to me," she said.

"I was devastated. I didn't know what to do. I was more upset than angry."

Una contacted the PSNI and police in Staffordshire and was shocked to learn Mr Campbell would not be arrested.

"He refused to take it down," she said. "His word was that it was never published live.

"He was asked to edit it, I think, because it was obvious I didn't know it was being recorded so he was told to take the first part out where we were sitting talking."

Una contacted the police again in September after being told the footage would appear online again.

"I told my parents and my mummy went over to his door and phoned the police," she said.

"At that time she had asked the police to confiscate his laptop and stuff and the police said they could do nothing about it.

"They said he would be served with a harassment notice and that was all they could do."

In October Una had to contact the police again regarding alleged breaches of an harassment notice.

Eventually the PPS decided not to prosecute.

"Part of this was to do with the fact that when it went to the PSNI they didn't link it back to the original case, they dealt with him breaking the harassment notice as completely separate to everything that went on previously, so it couldn't be taken into consideration in the PPS decision," Una said.

In May when Una was home from England for study leave she heard from Mr Campbell again so she contacted a solicitor.

"It was at that point I went to a solicitor and asked is there anything I can do because every time I phoned the police and their answer was I can't do anything, we've done all we can do. The solicitor advised me I could go to court and get an injunction but that it was expensive."

Emergency legal aid was granted but Una's application for funding a full legal injunction was not approved during a process she found "exhausting".

"In communications he said, 'I will try and take it down but it's probably on 15 other sites by this time because they all share videos'," she added.

"Although this site may not have published it I don't know if it was submitted to others or what he had done with it.

"I don't even want to know if it is out there but the fact is it could be out there." Una said the psychological impact of her 'revenge porn' experience has been immense.

"There was times he would say he took it down and then because I still wouldn't talk to him he said he would upload it again," she said.

"One of the comments he made to me was, 'well at least you'll be famous'.

"He told me he would send it into my employer, so two weeks into a new job I had to sit down with my manager and have that difficult conversation."

Through tears, Una explained that what happened has changed her as a person and she has been left unable to form new relationships with men.

For now she cannot imagine having an intimate relationship with another man but is determined she will love again and is exploring counselling options.

"I can't trust anyone," she said.

"I feel relief now but I didn't get what I wanted. I couldn't afford £10,000 for an injunction.

"I had to go and initiate this for myself.

"It should be a criminal act to put any sort of images or videos of anybody online.

"I felt violated."

Change to legislation is required to outlaw practice

As the law stands, revenge porn is not a criminal offence.

Legal action can only be taken if pictures are deemed a breach of copyright law, harassment or contain images of under-18s. Existing legislation banning "malicious communications" usually involves written abuse, not pictures.

Harassment laws generally require a number of offences before charges can be brought.

A victim seeking redress will have to resort to civil action, which could leave them facing a legal bill of thousands. Last month, a committee of peers said clarification was needed on the law around revenge porn and when it could lead to a prosecution.

The House of Lords communications committee, in a review of the laws on social media crime, called on the UK's Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to clarify when the practice becomes a criminal offence.

In the report they said: "We would welcome clarification from the DPP as to the circumstances in which an indecent communication could and should be subject to prosecution under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 or Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988."

Peers said clearer guidance was needed for police and prosecutors to help them secure convictions. They also said perpetrators should not be allowed to post in complete anonymity.

"There is little point in criminalising certain behaviour and at the same time legitimately making that same behaviour impossible to detect," the report said.

Chris Grayling, the UK Justice Secretary, has said ministers will look to change the law.

He said the Government was "very open" to having a "serious discussion" about the issue once the summer recess was over.

"It is clearly becoming a bigger problem in our society," he added.

Any change to the law here would fall under the remit of Justice Minister Dav id Ford.

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