Wednesday 29 January 2020

Strangers called to woman's house seeking sex after ex created fake online profile, court told

Her ex set up the fake profiles
Her ex set up the fake profiles

A woman had strangers calling to seek sex after an ex-partner set up a fake online account in her name, a court heard today.

She was also forced to shut down her Facebook page, change phone number and move house after former boyfriend Colin Penny subjected her to "obsessive" text and internet messaging.

His four-month campaign culminated in an incident in June when her car window was smashed.

Penny, 30, of York Park in Belfast, was ordered to complete 140 hours community service after pleading guilty to harassment and criminal damage.

A prosecutor told the city's Magistrates' Court that the victim received unwanted texts and online messages from the defendant between February and June.

Penny was arrested days after a rear window of the woman's car was broken on June 2.

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer was told he admitted both smashing it and setting up a Facebook account to contact the victim and her family.

Screenshots from 40 different incidents were provided to police.

Penny also accepted setting up a fake account on a sex site in the woman's name, the court heard.

It resulted in unwanted, unknown men calling the injured party expecting sex, the prosecutor said.

She disclosed that the victim has since deactivated her Facebook account, switched mobile phone numbers and eventually moved to a new address.

Defence barrister Sue McConnell said a break-up in the relationship between her client and the woman led to the offences being committed.

"Text messages were sent back and forth between the parties and Mr Penny fell into a deep depression," she said.

On being told the defendant has lost seven stone in weight, Mr Mateer remarked: "It hasn't done him any harm by the look of it."

Despite giving Penny credit for entering an early guilty plea, the judge said he had subjected the victim to "a very determined and longstanding period of emotional abuse".

He added: "The offending behaviour seems to have developed from obsessive texting and unpleasant, manipulative, fake setting up of accounts and anti-social media activity... to an occasion when you smashed a rear window of her car."

Mr Mateer insisted the break-up was no excuse.

"You are just one of countless people in this society who has to struggle with relationship break-ups," he told Penny.

"If they all behaved the way you did it would be the same as countries in the world who are experiencing unrest."

As well as imposing community service the judge ordered him to pay £566 compensation to cover the broken car window. ends 

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