Sleeping With the Enemy: British Woman’s Web-Stalker Was Scarily Close to Home

  • Share
  • Read Later
AFP / Getty Images

A British woman was hounded for three years by a creepy online predator who turned out to be her own boyfriend; now she wants her tormentor jailed.

Ruth Jeffery, 22, suffered a sustained campaign of cyber-abuse at the hands of her boyfriend Shane Webber. He even sent naked photos of her to her friends and family. Webber, who is from Nottingham in England, pleaded guilty this week to a charge of causing harassment, alarm or distress and will be sentenced next month.

(SEE: Assisted Suicide Goes Digital: When Is a Chat-Room Post a Crime?)

“I want him to be put in prison because he has wrecked the past three-and-a-half years of my life,” Jeffery told the Guardian, following her former long-time beau’s court appearance.

The couple had known each other for more than 10 years, first meeting in primary school. After they stared dating, Webber hacked into Jeffery’s social media accounts and began impersonating her, sending lewd messages to friends suggesting she was attracted to them.

At one point he even gave out her address and a man showed up at her house.

Jeffery, a Loughborough University student also from Nottingham, reported the abuse to police in March of 2010. She eventually noticed that Webber was the only one who could have known some details in certain messages and confronted him. He denied any involvement and instead did what any man of his apparent caliber would do — implicated one of his friends, who was then arrested and had his computer seized by police.

(SEE: Data Mining: How Companies Now Know Everything About You)

Cops finally caught Webber red-handed in June this year, after he sent explicit images of Jeffery from her email account to her entire contact list, including her father. Investigators were able to trace the Internet protocol address of the computer back to Webber.

“I’ve known him for 10 years, so in a way it feels like the past 10 years have been wasted. We were really close. We did everything together. I would tell him everything. I thought he was telling me everything,” added Jeffery. (via Guardian)

Joe Jackson is a contributor at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @joejackson. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest