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Shane Webber jailed for stalking girlfriend online
2:18pm Monday 31st October 2011 in News
A MAN who stalked his girlfriend online, posting naked images of her, has been jailed.
Shane Webber, 23, from Nottingham, was jailed for four months at Southampton Magistrates' Court after admitting he harassed Ruth Jeffery by posting the images on social networking sites and tagging the photos to draw them to the attention of her family and friends, including her parents.
Miss Jeffery had no idea the person stalking her online was her boyfriend.
Webber also tried to implicate one of his friends, Lee Evans, by putting the posts in an email address bearing Mr Evans's name, leading to his arrest.
He was only found out when Miss Jeffery's family made their own inquiries and the emails were traced back to him.
In passing sentence, District Judge Anthony Callaway said the offence was a ''gross violation of Miss Jeffery's privacy''.
Outside court Miss Jeffery, 22, told the assembled media that even if Webber had got the maximum jail sentence magistrates can give - six months - it would not have made up for the hurt she had been caused.
She said: ''I am extremely pleased with the outcome. The maximum sentence in a magistrates' court will never make up for the hurt he had put me through but I am pleased I can now put it behind me.
''I was absolutely devastated when I found out it was him. I could not believe it was Shane. I did not want to believe it.''
Miss Jeffery said her family suspected it was Webber but she could not comprehend how he could do such a thing.
Webber started the campaign in April 2010 when Ms Jeffery aborted their child and he became angry.
He posted 10 to 12 images of a nude or sexual nature of his girlfriend and also of himself with her on to sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr and Google Picasa, the court heard.
One batch in April 2011 was called Nude Jeffery and was sent to many close friends and family of the computing science student at Loughborough university.
Frank Richardson, prosecuting, said: ''She had no knowledge that Shane Webber was sending these images to her friends.''
Devious Webber told Ms Jeffery that Mr Evans, who knew nothing about what his friend was doing, had stolen the explicit images from his computer.
To make the deception even more elaborate he pretended to be Mr Evans online when Ms Jeffery contacted him about the harassment and he even told her that he, Webber, was having affairs.
Mr Richardson told the court: ''That was manipulation, that was control, that was mind control.''
In an victim impact statement which was read out, Ms Jeffery said: ''I have been absolutely devastated by the fact the person I shared everything with caused me so much hurt and harm.''
The court was told that the pair had met at school and got together at an early age before Ms Jeffery moved with her family to Southampton.
The relationship with Webber continued when she started at Loughborough.
The court was told the harassment has caused her to be depressed and lacking in confidence and had forced her not to trust anyone.
She said she had been ''intentionally controlled, belittled and harmed'' by Webber, and that Webber's behaviour was ''cruel and calculated''.
Ms Jeffery's family were very suspicious that Webber was behind the harassment but Ms Jeffery did not believe them, the court heard, causing friction in the family as she defended him.
Eventually her father, Gordon, made his own investigation and traced the postings to a site registered to Webber and he was arrested and interviewed by police.
''He could not give a reason why he did this,'' Mr Richardson said: ''He was more angry with her (Ms Jeffery's) mother and father for telling her to abort his child.''
In mitigation Janet Grey said that Webber had Asperger's syndrome and he and his family had suffered from abuse including his parents' house having the words ''sicko'' and ''psycho'' daubed on it.
''He has been having a nasty time since this hit the tabloid press,'' she said.
''He seems to have realised he has received a dose of his own medicine. He realises, for the first time, the devastating impact this has had on Ruth and her family.''
Judge Callaway said the offence and its breach of trust and privacy was so serious that only jail would be appropriate.
He also imposed a five-year restraining order on Webber not to contact his former girlfriend or post images of her online.