Belfast Telegraph

Man who hacked into ex-girlfriend's Facebook account and posted semi-naked pictures of her acted 'intolerably', court hears

By Alan Erwin

A man who admitted hacking into his ex-girlfriend's Facebook account to post semi-naked images of her behaved "intolerably", the High Court has heard.

Aaron Connor's barrister said he had no excuses and wanted to apologise for his actions, which also allegedly involved accessing and sending the woman's emails to another former partner.

Granting bail to the 37-year-old computer researcher from Derry, a judge emphasised the distress caused to the victim.

Connor, of Cromore Gardens in the city, faces charges of harassment, common assault and sending menacing messages through a public communication network.

Kate McKay, prosecuting, claimed the offences started on February 4, after the woman had ended their relationship.

Connor had allegedly gone to her home and tried to get in, forcing her to push against the front door in a bid to stop his entrance.

The next day she was alerted by a friend that something was wrong with his Facebook account, the court heard.

When the woman logged in she discovered two images of herself in a "semi-undressed" state.

In one her top half was naked, but with arms across her breasts.

The other photo depicted her in pyjamas revealing part of her body.

Mrs McKay said: "These were accompanied by two vulgar comments on her page which she did not post."

The woman later discovered her email account had also been hacked into.

Messages had been forwarded to another ex-partner without her knowledge.

Police seized copies of her emails and obtained Facebook print-outs before trying to arrest Connor.

He later went to a PSNI station and made full admissions during interview, according to the prosecution.

At that stage he was released on condition that he had no contact with the woman.

But on February 18 she phoned police, distressed and crying over further emails.

The court heard Connor also allegedly harassed her by sending a bunch of flowers with the attached message: "I'm sorry, I will always love you."

Mrs McKay said his actions have left the woman scared and physically ill.

"Police believe he's obsessed with this lady and can't accept that the relationship is at an end," she added.

Defence counsel Sean Doherty accepted posting the images was completely improper, but argued they were not pornographic.

With his client having spent a week in custody, the barrister said he now realised the full consequences.

"By his own admissions he's behaved in an intolerable fashion towards the complainant in this case. There can be no excuses," Mr Doherty said.

He added that Connor had difficulties accepting the sudden end to a close relationship.

"He sent her flowers and an email - the email doesn't contain any threats, what it amounts to is a groveling apology for his earlier actions," he said.

"This man has nothing but the sincerest apologies for the manner he has behaved towards her."

Connor was granted bail but banned from contacting the woman or going within 200 metres of her workplace.

The judge pointed out: "The distress this behaviour has caused the injured party, he has now been in custody for a period and I hope he has learnt from that the consequences that follow."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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