Belfast Telegraph

American Ryan Collins sentenced to 18 months over Cat Deeley pictures

By Ali Gordon

The creepy American who stole nude pictures of Patrick Kielty's superstar wife and scores of other celebrities has been jailed for 18 months.

Ryan Collins, 36, from Pennsylvania, used a scam called phishing in which he sent out emails requesting login details that more than 100 victims, mostly famous females, thought were from Apple and Google.

The hacker has now been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal hacking charges and admitting to a two-year phishing scam to gain passwords of more than 100 people, including comedian Patrick Kielty's So You Think You Can Dance presenter wife, Cat Deeley, Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence and singers Rihanna and Avril Lavigne.

TV host Cat, 40, who recently gave birth to a son, was left stunned after her own nude and topless pictures, some of which featured her 45-year-old Co Down comedian husband, ended up online for millions of people to see in 2014.

The images appeared to show intimate moments between Cat and Patrick on holiday in a hotel room.

"In some cases, Collins would use a software program to download the entire contents of the victims' Apple iCloud backups," said Pennsylvania attorney, Bruce Brandler.

"In addition, Collins ran a modelling scam in which he tricked his victims into sending him nude photographs."

In total, investigators found that Collins had gained access to at least 50 Apple iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts.

One of Collins' victims, Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, had 60 of her private images uploaded to the internet.

"It is not a scandal - it is a sex crime," the Hollywood actress told Vanity Fair.

"It is a sexual violation. It's disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change."

While Cat has never spoken publicly about the privacy breach, her name has appeared on several lists naming the hacker's targets.

Collins was originally charged in Los Angeles, where he had faced up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine, but the case was transferred closer to his home in Pennsylvania, where the dad-of-two was sentenced to 18 months behind bars. His LinkedIn profile states that Collins began working as a creative project manager for a digital marketing firm in April 2015. He gained a bachelor's degree in integrated science and technology from James Madison University in 2003.

His wife is licensed in Pennsylvania as a psychologist and works at a local hospital, according to her LinkedIn profile.

But Ryan Collins has also shown an interest in becoming a personal chef, posting "the culinary world is where my true passion lies."

Collins' victims unwittingly handed over passwords to their online accounts - allowing him to pinch their private pictures and videos between November 2012 and September 2014. Other well known faces that fell for the scam included supermodel Kate Upton and popstar Ariana Grande.

Patrick and Cat will be glad the hacker who intruded into their private lives has finally been prosecuted as they embarked on their new journey as parents earlier this year. The low-key couple, who wed in an intimate Rome ceremony back in 2012, had been friends for a decade before tying the knot, and welcomed son Milo into the world in January. Based in LA, they also have homes in London and Dundrum.

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